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After the death of Abdullah Ishamel in the plane that crashed en route to Israel, Reuben tracked down the leader of Macrotech. He knew this man, named Alexander Judastus, distributed surface to air guided missiles. These portable missiles used electronic navigation techniques to find their target. They were now available, together with other more sophisticated arms. Reuben was glad he had invested most of his money from the sale of his computer business into these weapons, in an effort to help his people. Newly developed space vehicles, equipped with the latest tracking devices and warfare projectiles, were financed with some of this money. At last, thought Reuben, my Arab people are being heard and helped. He was pleased his media equipment for surveillance was also being used worldwide.


Alexander Judastus has much to offer he mused. He is a strong, natural born, leader. Reuben was roused from his vain imaginings by the ringing phone connected to his monitor.


"Peter here. I guess you saw Alexander Judastus on today's media newscast. A good report wouldn't you say? This new card is like cash in their pockets." "Less cash, but not cashless. Sounds good," replied Reuben.


"I don't go along with the peace treaty. I'm still not back in my family home in Jerusalem."


"Believe me Reuben, there is more to this than meets the eye. Alexander is a hard calculating man. His plans reach far beyond the present situation. He has great power in Rome, and some Jews believe Alexander Judastus is the Messiah. Now that their Temple is finished, they will reinstitute the Jewish sacrificial system."


"Won't their religion be a threat to the new Universal Church?"  "Their two super evangelists, and all the other thousands around the world can preach all they like. The miracles occurring in the Universal Church equal anything seen anywhere. Talisman's, portraying Alexander's head, are being given to members of the new Universal church. People believe they will be protected from sickness and misfortune if they wear one. Articles, once belonging to Alexander have been blessed by the Prophet of the Universal Church. People have been healed instantly of cancer, blindness and other illnesses when they touched these things. The talisman and articles have great supernatural power to heal."


Reuben wanted to end this conversation. He hadn't seen any of these miracles and felt left out of Alexander's rise to power. Reuben felt Peter had dismissed him without any firm plans for him in this organization.

 

Ari, Helen, and Nicholas settled into David's home near the plant. Simon and Nicholas became friends at their first meeting. They spent time walking the same paths Simon once walked with David and Reuben. In many ways Nicholas reminded Simon of Reuben. He showed some of the same aloof gruffness. Simon hoped that after a few weeks, Nicholas' brusqueness would change a little, just as Reuben's did when he was a boy. Simon missed Reuben. David had once told Simon how Reuben had grown into a far different man.


Nicholas flopped onto his bed and stared at the withering leaves on a grapevine outside the window. He didn't quite understand what was happening to him. He thought this feeling came as a result of leaving his home and sister behind. He couldn't be bothered with TV or his favourite CD's. His daily walk with Simon had become the bright spot in each day. Simon was a good substitute grandfather. Nicholas opened a book Simon had given him. It reminded him of David's visit and the time when David, Elena and their parents helped him finish his assignment. Inside the book he read,
'David Izzard - always a Jew - of late, an enlightened Jew.'


The book was a recent publication entitled, 'The Invasion Must Come.' Not a bad title thought Nicholas as he began to read about a battle, which according to the Bible was supposed to happen some time in the future.


Ari was pleased with his tour of Granright. In spite of the fire, the books showed good sales figures for last month. As he walked with Simon to the burnt out ruins, they made plans to employ more drivers to meet delivery demands.


"David must have worked hard to establish this plant, Simon. I hope we are able to flood the market with the new products."


"That is my wish too, or else David's work will have been in vain. I think we should also employ extra staff for our packaging department. Some of the men have wives who want to work here."
"Helen is also keen to find something to occupy her time. If she agrees, we could start a day care centre where workers can leave their children. It would be good for her, she misses Elena so much. With Nicholas settled into his new school, Helen needs something more than household routine."

 

A few weeks later Simon joined the family for dinner. As they talked by a gently glowing fire, Simon could not help noticing Helen's enthusiasm as she told Ari of her work with the children. He was glad to see some joy returning to her life.


Ari and his family had been going to one of the newly formed Christian home groups(1) with Simon. Ari spent many hours in long debates with men in the group, but had not shared their ideas with Helen or Nicholas for fear of embarrassment. Tonight, as they all sat around the fire, the time seemed right. Ari winked at Simon and began.


"There is something I am busting to tell you. I have kept quiet all day but can't any longer. This morning I asked Simon what I must do to become a Christian.(2) He explained this to me again and I accepted Jesus as my Saviour. I don't know what lies ahead, but believe Jesus Christ alone can save us. The events of the last months and my study of Scripture, leave me in no doubt that we are in for a tough time. From now on I want to live according to what the Bible says, just like we should have prior to the rapture. Had we done so, we would now be in heaven with all the others."
Helen looked lovingly at Ari.


"I want to be with you in all your decisions. For some time I have been praying for understanding and want to follow Jesus too."
Nicholas couldn't believe his ears. His eyes widened as he saw his Dad quickly wipe tears of joy from his face, as well as his mother's.
"You two look like a couple of sloppy teenagers. I'm going to bed!" He banged the door behind him, not really understanding why he was so cross. Later, as he went over these events, he realized it was because he felt left out of their special moment.  Simon walked out into the chilly pre-winter night air and Ari couldn't help noticing a new-found spring in the old man's steps. Later that night Ari helped Helen make her commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. He felt sure there would be many days when they would be tested as they followed His teachings.

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 16 NovelNotes

1. We anticipate that at this time, new groups will form rapidly to study and find out from Bibles and other books just what is going to happen next. From these studies many people will decide to follow Christ, even though they have missed the rapture. The rapture of course only included people who believed in Jesus Christ at the time of the rapture. It does not pay not to be a believer! Believers will be in heaven and safe from the terrors that will occur.

2. Simon's explanation may have been something like this. Getting to know God and becoming a Christian is quite a simple process if that is a step that you really want to take. These are the steps you must take, once you decide you want to be a Christian.
Preparation.
If you want to follow Jesus Christ, you will need to look through the following and see that you accept and believe all of the following.


1. That you are a sinner separated from God and that you want to be restored into relationship with Him. "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Galatians 3:23)
2. That God's gift for you is eternal life. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom 6:23)
3. That to know God and receive God's best you must be born again. "Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God......."Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:3-6)
4. That the intent of God's love for you was to save you from eternal death. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
5. That God anticipated your need. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom 5:8 )
6. That Jesus is the only way to God. "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)
7. That you will be justified (put right) before God, by virtue of the death of Jesus on the cross. "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)

 

If you can really believe and accept all these things, then you can make your commitment. If you do not understand all these things, then have them explained until you do. Making a commitment. There are two aspects of any commitment to Christ.

1. Believing.


Acknowledging your belief in Jesus and what He has done for you. If you believe, then speak out an acknowledgment of that belief before God. Scripture says: "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."   (Rom 10:9-10) "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

2. Repenting of your sin -including a confession of it.


The major sin for confession is not having previously acknowledged Jesus Christ as your Saviour. However, if you are weighed down by particular sins, those wrong things you have done and said, then quietly confess those too. Telling God about them removes the sin and guilt from you. If you need to go to someone else to confess your harming of them in word or deed, then do that also. Keep the following verses in mind as your guarantee of forgiveness and assurance of eternal life.


"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,"because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31 NKJV)

A prayer you could use.

"Heavenly Father, I want to be a real Christian. I realize that my sin has separated me from You. Please forgive me. I believe that Jesus died for me on the cross. I accept this by faith in what the Bible says. I want to be a child of Yours. Please come into my life and do that for me. I will follow You and obey You forever. Amen."

Of course it is of no use speaking out these words if you do not really mean them. God can see our hearts and if we are being hypocritical, then they will be empty words to Him.
Simon would then have reminded Ari of the results of his commitment.

1. You now have new life through the Spirit of God.


"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." (Rom 8:11)


" If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" (Luke 11:11-13)

2. You know that your sins are forgiven.

3. You have made peace with God.

4. You are a part of God's family here on earth.

5. You have the free gift of eternal life.

6. You have God as your heavenly Father.

7. You will come to know God's purposes for your life.

8. You will know that whatever happens, your eternal future is safe and secure.

What to do now!

The following would have applied to Ari, or any reader of this book if they so choose. Try to join a group of Christians who study the Bible and follow Jesus Christ. Baptism in water is a symbolic representation of the end of the old life and the beginning of the new. Not everyone may fully believe, in or fully understand water baptism, but in the Bible it is a normal and expected part of the Christian life. Jesus commanded it for all of us. Notice the following verses.

"'And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptised, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'" (Acts 22:16)

"Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38)

 

AFFIRMING WHAT YOU HAVE DONE.

It is important to immediately affirm what you have done. One way to do this is to read out aloud all the Scriptures you have used to become a Christian. That means to use all the Scriptures on these pages. It would be a good idea to do this often. Notice the incredible statements that have been made in the Bible about what you have just done.


For example: John 1: 12-13. "... to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God children born of God." You are now a child of God.


Ephesians 2:8-9. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -not by works, so that no-one can boast.."


2 Corinthians 5:17. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come."


John 10:10. "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."


One of the most important results of making this decision is that you have received the Holy Spirit of God Who is now residing with you. This means you have been restored and that the Holy Spirit can now teach you about Jesus, the Father and Himself. What you now read in the Bible will become easier to understand, although you should not expect too much too soon. Learning about these things is a gradual process.

 

NEXT STEPS

If this were all happening to you and not Ari, then the following things would need to be considered. When you have taken all these steps, you are a child of the only true and living God. You have been born into a family of believers around the world. You have a new birth into your new life. You now have the first stages of the fullness of life that Jesus offers. This new life from God will benefit your body, soul and spirit. Many new things can now happen in your life. From now on you and God have a partnership into which you both contribute. The two main things to remember and do, are to trust God in all the circumstances of your life and be obedient to His word as it is revealed in the Bible.


It is suggested that you begin to build into your life all of the following things.


1. Learn to depend on Jesus and his Spirit. See John 14:26. Continue to pray to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. Remember what is said in Luke 11:11-13. See also Ephesians 5:18.


2. Take time each day, preferably in the morning, to read your Bible and pray. Treat God as a Father who wants to hear all your desires and concerns.


3. Find a good church as near as you can to your home. Be prepared to travel a bit if you need to, in order to find a good one. Be attracted by the loving actions of people, not just by what they say. Join a small group in your church to help you learn to grow as a Christian. Every new believer needs lots of fellowship and teaching.


4. Go to a Christian bookshop and get some study guides and prayer helps. There are many of these available to help new believers.


5. Realize that you have made the biggest decision of your life and there is now before you a lifetime of exciting possibilities in God. There are so many things to learn about God's ways of living.


6. Remember all you have read here is only the beginning stages of the Christian faith. Don't just settle where you are at and not go on with God. God has a plan for every person on earth who is prepared to trust in Him and His ways. God bless you. Stay close to Him.

SOME AFTERTHOUGHTS

Also consider these remarks that have come out of a book (Escape into Life) written by one of the authors in 1991.


Daniel, the Daniel who survived the lion's den, once said to his King that 'There is a God in heaven.' This statement by him is the hope of all mankind. If there was not a God in heaven, then mankind would be doomed. God sent Jesus to confirm there is a God in heaven and to tell the world what to do in order to get to heaven when death finally comes. He also sent Jesus to tell us how to live here on earth. The values Jesus expressed are almost totally opposed to those man lives by now. Mankind will often give lip service to these values, but is generally unable to perform them. However, by the death and resurrection of Jesus, all men and women, if they decide to commit their lives to Christ, can begin to know fullness of life on earth, and gain eternal life. There is no circumstance of life which cannot be influenced for you by Jesus, if you can place your faith in Him. We all want a better life on earth right here and now. Jesus is the way to it.


Do not be influenced by the world and those in it who accuse believers of being square, boring Bible bashers. Jesus has said that those who stand firm in their belief are those who will inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of God.


Also, do not be influenced by what looks (in part) to be a poor showing of God's church in the world today. The church has many weaknesses, but God does not. It is God's church and He will prevail, despite the struggles of His people. More important than all the weaknesses, all the hypocrisy and sin within His people, are the eternal truths that stand. Judge God and what He can do by what He says in the Bible, not by the struggles of His people on earth. No matter what man does to help or hinder, God will prevail for ever. Jesus came so that you and I might be saved from eternal death and go to live with Him forever.


The message of Jesus is the most revolutionary the world has ever seen. It may upset some who think they know better, but others will welcome it. Either way, I hope you will take advantage of all that He offers and . . . ESCAPE INTO LIFE.

Continue to Chapter 17