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Macro's agent saw a large procession of people on his monitor. Thousands of people had joined together worldwide, in a march proclaiming Jesus as their Saviour and true God. These people were from both the Universal church and the thousands of Christian house churches formed since the rapture. Many laughed and sang as they triumphantly marched through the streets of Jerusalem. Riots broke out as mobs supporting Macro, threw stones and jeered at the marchers. Some were trampled by the surging crowd, releasing their fury on anyone who dared oppose Macro's leadership. As some of the marchers fell, blood streaming from fatal head wounds, the column moved on.(1) Since following the teachings of Jesus Christ, they had led others to acknowledge Him as their Saviour. For this they had given their lives. Israeli's, Palestinians, and foreigners watched the marchers reach a large bus terminal just north of the Damascus gate of the Old City. Metres from the bus terminal was a small hill called Golgotha, reputed to be the site where Jesus Christ was crucified more than 1960 years ago.(2) The crowd walked about 100 metres west into the area known as the Garden Tomb(3) Tourists visiting the garden tomb were amazed at the courage of these placard bearing Christians. Overhead cameras recorded the scene, as Macro's image appeared on a huge screen set high on Golgotha's hill. His voice boomed out across the terminal drowning out the busy street noise.


"I am supreme. There will be an end to all gatherings and demonstrations other than those to give homage to me. You will give honour and glory to me alone."


The crowd dispersed lest their faces be captured on one of the many street cameras. The marchers were soon swallowed up amidst the onlookers. Some went through the Damascus gate into the Old City of Jerusalem,(4 ) into the tiny arcades and streets to preach to anyone that would listen. They knew God had saved them for this very purpose.

 

Although he had not openly declared his intentions, Macro was successful in his campaign to discredit Christians living in both Israel and around the world. All Christians suffered ridicule and violence, often at the hands of their neighbours. Homes, businesses and Christian schools were destroyed. Propaganda continued through all media outlets. False information concerning the war and the Christian religion soon spread. People could no longer choose what they watched or heard on their multimedia sets. Macro and his men continued using surveillance equipment to spy on Christians suspected of meeting secretly. He persuaded Reuben to introduce a virus on the Internet to wipe out all Christian programs and messages. So far, antivirus software was unable to detect or stop this new strain of virus. It was more effective than any other and destroyed all file documents except those programmed by Macro. The power and extent of his deception pleased him. Warwick, his High Priest, continued to deceive housands of people by performing amazing miracles.

 

Macro paced the floor of his Cyprus villa, waiting for the expected phone call. He resented the way the Universal Church tried to control his daily movements. At first he enjoyed their praise and adoration when he and Warwick performed miracles. Macro could not deny the fact that this world wide church, embracing all nations and languages, had been useful in his rise to power, but he hated their interference. He had always planned to destroy the Universal Church network. The ringing phone brought an evil smile to his face.


"Macro," he replied. He rarely used the name Alexander Judastus now.   "Is it finished?"


"Thoroughly executed. Our agents throughout the world struck unexpectedly, destroying holy books, killing their priests and burning all buildings and cathedrals belonging to the Universal Church.(5) In some places our agents massacred the entire congregation. The only things saved, were the talismans and statues bearing your image."


"Now I will become the god of all people. Everyone will worship me. Warwick will continue his work with me in Jerusalem to perform miracles in my name. He will order everyone to have a mark on their hands or foreheads.(6) This will allow people to receive or sell food and obtain all other goods and services. There will be no other organized religion or trading methods but mine."
"What about the Jews who have been worshipping in their new temple?" asked the agent.


"They too will worship me and my image. It will be assumed I am their long awaited messiah, because I have given them peace, security and freedom. Their sacrificial system will cease once I have forced them to worship me."


"What if they object and refuse to worship you?"  "I will bring back the guillotine, which is already waiting to be used."


The agent shivered at the thought of this barbaric method of execution used long ago during the French Revolution. Macro's voice jolted him back to the present.


"I am almost ready to return to Jerusalem. Then I will take my place as god of this world."

 

The day had arrived! Macro rose to address representatives from Europe and other countries. All available seats in the temple were occupied an hour earlier. Local identities stood shoulder to shoulder, eager to hear Macro's latest news. As Macro stood in the centre of the platform, his long, scarlet, satin robe billowed behind him. Around his neck he brazenly wore a long gold chain bearing a dangling black onyx pendant set with pink diamonds. It bore the same ancient emblem as his signet ring. His followers, obsessed by his magnificence, stood as one to cheer their leader. They all agreed he was the best man to rule the world. Today was his first public appearance since claiming this role. He raised his hand acknowledging the applause. The noisy ovation ceased as a young man walked solemnly up the platform steps carrying a golden crown on a plush scarlet cushion. Macro now sat regally on a huge, carved, solid oak chair overlaid in gold. The young man, dressed in a flowing blue gown, placed the crown on Macro's head. Once again the crowd hailed him as their leader and king. Macro rose and the temple became silent.


"I greet you as king over all things and over all people. You need no other king or god except me.(7 ) Sacrifices and offerings at this temple, to the Jewish God, will cease immediately!(8 ) Everyone must worship me. Not to do so will result in death!"


With a sweep of his left hand, two more young men dressed in blue robes, entered the platform from a side door. A fanfare rolled from the temple musician's trumpets. The three attendants grasped the edges of a rich tapestry embroidered in gold with Macro's emblem. Slowly the heavy covering fell to the ground, unveiling a larger than life size image of Macro. His followers began to chant, "Macro, Macro," as they fell to their knees before his image. Others, alarmed at the mounting hysteria, turned to leave but were hemmed in by prostrate bodies. Guards blocked all the exit doors making escape impossible. Light from the golden lamps filtered through the eyes, nostrils and mouth of the image, striking fear into the hearts of the Jews who usually worshipped here. They felt sick at this sacrilege.


Macro silenced the crowd and continued, "Warwick will ensure all people receive an invisible mark on their right hand or forehead. This will show they belong to me and are part of my kingdom. No other allegiance will be accepted. New electronic scanners have been installed in all shops and welfare bodies. Without this mark, customers will not receive any goods or services. The mark is a name, represented by the number, 666. All who refuse this mark will either die of starvation, or be killed because of disobedience to my commands."


Fear silenced the crowd as Macro ended his sinister speech. He swept down the aisle quickly and purposefully, with Warwick trailing behind like a bridesmaid at a wedding. As soon as the guards opened the doors many fled in terror. Jews fell to their knees and began to weep and pray to their God with broken hearts. They realized, too late, that Macro was an agent of destruction set up in opposition to their own true God. Macro was not the promised Messiah after all. Israel and most of the world had been deceived and encircled with this man's lies.

 

Macro and Warwick settled comfortably into their headquarters near the temple. Macro was pleased with today's proceedings, knowing that Warwick had already organized the marking to begin tomorrow. Special depots had been set up throughout the world to complete this within one week. Instructions had been given that all who refused the mark were to be imprisoned. Agents were instructed to hunt down all Christians and execute them immediately, without trial.


Rain drizzled from grey skies as people reluctantly made their way to the marking depots. Huge machines clicked and hummed as laser beams quickly and painlessly imprinted the mark on swabbed hands. Their Flash Card identification number was also lasered on at the same time. Queues like these were becoming part of daily life - some for inoculation to help prevent the spread of disease, a real threat since the war, and others to obtain fresh food. Of recent times, not many evangelists had been seen around the world. In Jerusalem, there was an unconfirmed report that thousands of them were seen on the Mount of Olives, with a cloud descending upon them. However, they were not seen again.


It was rumoured Christians were meeting secretly in Israel at various homes and caves. The streets were deserted at night except when guards or agents dragged families from dimly lit homes, herding them into waiting trucks. Homes were then looted before being torched, often with occupants still inside. Every household watched their neighbour and reported any unusual behaviour or change of habits to the authorities. Friends became aloof and alienated, for each lived in fear of their lives. Citizens who would not conform to Macro's rule or receive the mark, were rounded up and marched through the streets of Jerusalem in chains. Merciless spectators mocked and threw rubbish at these captives on their humiliating walk to the place of public execution. The last word heard by young and old, man or woman as they fell before the bloodthirsty crowd raging like wild beasts was, "Traitor, Traitor."


Jewish men were continually hunted down by Macro's knife bearing youth patrol. These fanatics took it upon themselves to become both judge and executioner, whether their victims bore the mark or not. They tormented and butchered many, leaving the disfigured bodies to rot in the street, a macabre reminder that real peace had flown. Macro's men carefully monitored the issue of all licenses, prohibiting many from owning weapons of any kind. Random searches were commonplace and any found guilty of possessing arms were shot instantly. These murderers went unpunished and often received extra food or money for each person killed.


The prison guillotines ran hot with the blood of Christians and those found without the mark. Grave diggers, clad in overalls and vinyl boots, emptied their bloodied loads into mass graves. At the end of the day rivers of blood soaked the earth, as the drivers hosed down oozing tip trucks in readiness for the night shift's abominable slaughter.

 

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 20 NovelNotes

1. Throughout the ages, there have been Christian martyrs. Today, there are Christians dying daily for their pronouncement of their belief in Jesus Christ. There will be people who become Christians after the rapture who will be subject to the power of the Antichrist and many Christians will die by his hand. The book of Revelation, Chapter 13, verse 15 tells of these things.

2. In Jerusalem, there are two sites which compete for recognition as being the site of Christ's crucifixion. The hill called Golgotha, some 200 metres north east of the Damascus Gate of the Old City, is easily the most credible.

3. The location of the tomb of Christ also has two competing locations. The Garden Tomb, just metres from Golgotha, (the place where the crucifixion took place) is the more credible. Scripture tells us no other person had previously been laid to rest in this tomb cut out of the rock. The book of John's Gospel, chapter 19, verses 41 and 42 give these details. A deep groove at the entrance shows where a huge stone, once sealed the now empty tomb. Tourist's now see the words above the exit which read, "He is not here, He is risen." These words come from Scripture in the book of the Luke's Gospel, Chapter 24, verse 6.

4. The Old City of Jerusalem is enclosed in the larger, more modern City of Jerusalem. The Old City is divided into four parts, the divisions giving a section each to Moslem, Arminian, Jew and Christian. The old city has been wholly or partly destroyed many times during its long history, but has always been rebuilt. It is the most sought after piece of real estate in the whole world.

5. In the Bible, the Universal Church is known as Babylon the Great and the Mother of Harlots. In essence, it is that part of the church in this present world that does not really worship the true God, even though it purports to do so. God allows the Antichrist to wipe it off the earth. See the book of Revelation, Chapter 17, verse 16.

6. The number 666 is often referred to as the devil's number. Not quite true, but close. It is the number of the man called the False Prophet (Warwick in this story) who, with the Antichrist, orders that all people must be marked - either on the forehead or on the right hand, with the Mark of the Beast. (The False Prophet is also referred to as the second Beast) There is great speculation as to how this will be done. It may be a mark made with a laser. However, it is reported by David Bay, of Grace Baptist Church, Attleboro, Massachusetts, USA, that the development of a Bio-Microchip is almost complete. If this is what the Mark of the Beast will be, it will be inserted under the skin of the right hand or in the forehead. It will have the capability of both receiving and sending information. Consequently, people will be able to be tracked and their financial and personal transactions be recorded. The battery for this chip will be kept charged by the hottest part of the body, which scientists have discovered is the forehead and the right hand - he exact places where Scripture says the mark will be placed. See the book of Revelation, Chapter 13, verse 16. Remember, this was written by the Apostle John 1900 years ago as a prediction of what will happen. As with all other Scripture, the Holy Spirit of God told John what to write.

7. The word Antichrist, means instead of Christ. Whilst some in the world have been waiting for the second coming of the real Christ, the Antichrist has been permitted by God to deceive many. This is why we must know our Bible, so we will not be deceived. The Antichrist is here announcing that he is the one who will now rule the world, a deception which many will believe. 8. This announcement will stun the Jews. They will then realize they have been deceived by the Antichrist. Some will begin to look to the real Christ.

Continue to Chapter 21