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As the car sped towards David's plant, Simon sat beside the police officer, oblivious to anything around him. He rocked back and forth, tormented by the sudden disappearance of his family. Last night his joy and happiness ended traumatically with Sol's cruel death. He remembered joining David in a lament, as tears overflowed out of grief. Simon's last clear picture was of David carrying Sol's limp body to the house to prepare it for burial. He also remembered saying goodnight to his daughter Sarah and her husband Rod, before seeking comfort in the arms of his beloved Ann. When he awoke she was not beside him and the house was strangely quiet. He recalled going from room to room, calling their names. That was when this police officer had arrived with questions about the explosion and the body found near the plant. The police officer's terse voice interrupted Simon's rocking.
"You said there was another body at your son's house didn't you?"
"Yes. I keep telling you, David carried Sol to the house last night to prepare him for burial."


"Where is David now and what happened to the body?"


"I don't know. Why won't you believe me? My wife, daughter, and son-in-law have also disappeared!"


The anguish in Simon's voice convinced the police officer this man believed he was telling the truth. Had the events of the last hours been too much for his mind to handle? Was there in fact two bodies? The police officer followed Simon into David's house. Everything was clean and tidy and a sweet aroma filled the place. Simon walked up and down obsessively touching things as he went. The officer was quick to notice that being here disturbed Simon, so after thoroughly checking the house, led him outside.
"Nothing seems amiss here. I think I'll check the plant now."


The fire department had finished sifting through blackened remains of the steel storage shed when the police car arrived. Simon sat in the car staring out with vacant eyes.


"Find anything in the ruins?" asked the police officer.


"It appears some type of fuse was lit outside the security fence. It travelled through an underground pipe buried outside the wall of the shed where the explosion occurred."


"There was no other human remains then?" asked the police officer.


"No sir, without any doubt this shed was unoccupied at the time of the fire. I heard a body was found not far from the shed," commented the fireman.


"That's right. We have identified the man who died from a gunshot wound. We have other unsolved murders on our books and think they are connected in some way, because there have been similar fires or accidents at other factories. It looks like someone will go to any length to close or destroy these places."


"Who's the man in the car?"


"Simon, the part owner's father. He seems confused and in shock. He keeps telling me David, his son, and the rest of his family have disappeared, along with the body of a man called Sol. Sol was supposed to be David's partner. Simon said Sol was murdered last night. We had many missing person calls this morning, but none regarding anyone called Sol. I'd better take Simon home before heading back to the police station. Thanks for your help."


The police officer arrived back at the station where people were still gathering outside. A man sat on the dirty pavement, his bare feet in the gutter. His wide eyes stared straight ahead. He had watched his wife and children being zapped into the heavens. The shock of seeing this had rendered him speechless. Others had been waiting all day for news of missing loved ones. In spite of the increasing crowd, there was a strange hush as people struggled to control their feelings of fear, confusion and anger.

Simon opened the door to his empty home. In desperation he picked up the phone.


"Rabbi Einson, Simon here. I must see you urgently. I think I am going mad."


"What's wrong Simon?"   "I don't want to talk about it now. Will you come?"   "Of course I will my friend."


While Simon waited for the Rabbi, he decided to phone Australia in the vain hope that Rod and Sarah's daughters had news that would throw some light on their parents sudden disappearance. After a long wait he was connected to the Queensland number.


"Hello, this is Simon Izzard calling from Israel. I want to talk to my granddaughters." 

 

The line crackled making it difficult for Emma, the housekeeper, to hear the man's words.


"Did you say Simon Izzard? I can hardly hear you," came the reply.
"Yes. Can I speak to one of my granddaughters please?"


"I'm sorry Mr Izzard. They're not here. In fact, your granddaughters and most of our workers have not been seen all day. None said goodbye or left messages. How are Rod and Sarah?"


"That's why I'm ringing. They have vanished without a word. Please call me if you hear from them or the girls."


Simon's hands trembled as he replaced the phone. There must be an answer he thought, as Rabbi Einson entered the quiet house. The Rabbi saw Simon seated at the table, head resting on his arms.


"What seems to be troubling you Simon?"  Simon told his story again. The Rabbi listened, nodding solemnly as the tale came to an end.


"Your story is similar to many I've heard today. At a Christian church near our Synagogue, someone found notes from the sermon preached that day. They seemed to be a Biblical message telling of an event called the Rapture. This Rapture was supposed to take all believers up to heaven in the twinkling of an eye. Those left on earth, it said, would suffer."


"I am suffering right now," cried Simon. "The loss of my family is too much to bear. I long to be with them wherever they are. Rabbi, could it be that all these missing people were translated like our prophet Enoch,(1) mentioned in the Torah? Why would God leave me to suffer like this?"


The Rabbi shifted nervously, embarrassed by Simon's questions. Thoughts gathered in his mind about his scant knowledge of these Christian issues. Of course, in his mind, he had already denied them because of his belief only in the Mosaic Law. Jewish tradition says the Messiah is still to come. Could Jesus be the Messiah, as Christians believe? His mind now considered that if Jesus was the Messiah, what would happen to those who met at the Synagogue to pray and read the Mosaic Law? If these sermon notes spoke the truth, and Jesus, persecuted so long ago by both Jews and Romans really was the Messiah, what hope was there for those left on earth?


Simon's question about Enoch also posed an important question for the Rabbi. Enoch disappeared when he was taken directly to heaven by God, without having to pass through physical death. Could it be that this is what happened to those who have just disappeared? The Rabbi spoke after a long silence.


"Simon, I also share your troubled thoughts. Could we have missed an important event in God's plan?(2) The message in the sermon notes, found at the church, said all believers would be taken off earth at a particular time."


"This has to be the answer Rabbi. Just as Enoch went to heaven before he saw death, so must my family have gone. This could also explain the mysterious disappearance of Sol's body. I am comforted a little if this is true. I remember you reading one day from the book of Isaiah. It said we should seek the Lord whilst He may be found. Help me to understand this. Is it too late for me to find the Lord and see my loved ones again?"


As Rabbi Einson considered Simon's questions, his eyes gazed at the pleasant view from the window. He was alarmed at the extent of Simon's fear and desperation. Had he been wrong in what he taught in the synagogue each week?


Turning again to Simon he said, "Surely Enoch is with God, but I do not believe our promised Messiah was this Jesus. The sermon found at the church does not convince me that Jesus was God's son. I reach out to you in love and compassion, as a brother and fellow Jew, but I don't know what to advise. I don't know how to help you."


After the Rabbi left, Simon, feeling rejected, closed his eyes and prayed that God would comfort him in his helplessness. Then, quite deliberately, he went back to David's house and searched the book titles in his bookcase. He picked up a very large book called 'Willmington's Guide to the Bible'. Searching its contents his pulse quickened as he noticed some important explanations on page number 825. It said:

1. The Rapture of the Church.(3)


A. The meaning of the word 'rapture'. The term is derived from the Latin word rapere which means 'to transport from one place to another.' Thus the next great scheduled event predicted by the Bible will take place when the Lord Jesus comes in the air to catch up his own.


Further down the page Simon noticed some more explanations,


B. The participants in the rapture. For whom will Jesus come? Christ will come again for his church, which is composed of all saved people from Pentecost(4) up to the rapture itself.

Simon read on and saw that the participants included Jesus himself, an Archangel, the bodies of dead believers, and the translated bodies of living believers. So I was right, he thought. It WAS just like Enoch! With a sickening feeling in his stomach he read many other pages. Simon realized he had been left behind because of his unbelief. He had not accepted Jesus Christ as God's own Son like his family had. There was no doubt about it. The rapture, predicted in the Bible, had actually happened.
The living members of his family had been translated and Sol's dead body had also been taken into the safety of heaven. Later, as he lay trying to sleep, he wondered why the Rabbi never knew these things. Simon had many troubled thoughts. He remembered Ann talking to him about the rapture, but had never accepted her beliefs.


The late night news reported Christian bookshops being ransacked for books on prophecy. Reports said the contents of these books said the rapture had been planned by God. The disappearance of many people confirmed this. Simon decided he must study more concerning this in the morning.(5)

 

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 13 NovelNotes

1. The Bible tells that Enoch went to heaven in a very unique way. The book of Genesis, Chapter 5, verses 23 and 24 tell us that God translated Enoch directly to heaven. This was the first such instance in the Bible of anyone being taken directly to heaven. It also happened to one other person in the Old Testament. That person was Elijah. His story is told in the book of 2 Kings, chapter 2, verses 1 to 11.

2. God's plan for this earth and all its peoples, unfolds throughout the whole of the Bible. It is God's hope that all people will get to know Him through Jesus Christ, so they can share in the benefits of living.

Continue to Chapter 14