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Chapter 23

The commander snapped to attention in Macro's private chamber. He was there to report on last night's successful raid. Macro sniggered as he listened to the details.   "None escaped. We left some sealed inside what are now their tombs."


"Let their God get them out of that," mocked Macro. He was quick to notice the commander's sudden sharp breath.   "What is it man? Speak up!"  The commander shifted nervously and continued.

"We found evidence to suggest that some escaped prior to our arrival." "Curse them!" spat Macro. "Where have they gone?"
"We followed some tracks southeast a short way, but lost them after rain began falling."


"Double patrols in the area. In the meantime, I want the two special evangelists found. I believe they go by the names of Jihela and Echon. These men have not come forward to receive the mark. They continue to preach and perform miracles."  The commander knew Macro was tormented by their continuing freedom.


"They openly defy me, drawing people to their God. Warwick and I have copied their miracles, yet people still cling to them. They even dared to kill some of my guards, with fire that appeared to come from their mouths. They have brought plagues upon whole regiments of my army. Another regiment died of thirst whilst searching for Christians near Masada. These evangelists used their power to stop the rain and dry up all water in the region. They have performed their last miracle," shouted Macro, slamming his fist down on the table.


The commander hurried to mop up the spilled red wine as it flooded the open map on Macro's table.   "Issue a reward to anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of Jihela and Echon. I want them arrested and killed."  The commander, one of many puppets in Macro's army, strode swiftly to the door, glad to escape Macro's wild outbursts.

Reuben had worked diligently as a spy for the Arab underground movement loyal to Macro. Although he continued in his terrier like persecution of Christians and Jews, manipulation of the world wide Internet system, using virtual reality equipment, was his forte. He smiled as he remembered the hysteria caused when Macro's life size replica was unveiled in the temple. Reuben's body bore the mark, not because he particularly supported the man or his goal to become ruler, dictator and god, rather out of his burning desire to see the Arab people returned to their land. He knew Macro was mad, but hoped his insane schemes would help the Arab cause. Many had moved into Jewish homes, farms and factories, left unoccupied as they fled Macro's rule.


Reuben was living in the ruins of Granright, vacant since David's hasty departure. Plans were under way to reopen the food plant. Macro decided Reuben was the one best suited to run the business. Unbeknown to Reuben, Macro did this to keep him out of more important matters. Macro wanted his food monopoly to continue, forcing more and more people to rely on his food banks introduced throughout the world. Reuben knew Macro was succeeding in his plan to wipe out large countries through starvation.(1)


Several viruses had been introduced, infecting or destroying cattle, game and grains. Hungry people scavenged rubbish dumps, eating contaminated food. There was an alarming increase in contaminated products being sold from remaining food outlets. Many succumbed to food poisoning after eating processed meats and cheese infected with salmonella and other bacteria. Foods like biscuits or cereals were tampered with in some regions, adding to increasing food shortages. Some survived, whilst others suffered excruciating death.


Health officials and bacteriologists could not agree on the origin, or carriers, of many viral diseases. It was thought rats, foxes or mosquitos were the culprits. In Australia, it was suggested bats or rabbits were responsible. The fact remained, Macro was in control of all food products. Neither silver nor gold was of any value or comfort. Macro also owned the covered fish ponds, installed some years ago in the Negev desert. Aquifers had been used to convert brackish water and provide fish all year round. These fish were less prone to disease than those found in the Sea of Galilee. Macro's farms produced vegetables and fruit tasting sweeter than any that managed to grow elsewhere.


Many nations were decimated, as whole villages, towns and cities became deserted. People tied a few possessions on their backs and trekked kilometre after kilometre in search of food and water. The world had never before seen such a refugee trail. The emaciated victims were in a worse condition than those from Africa seen on T.V. screens in the 1980's and 1990's. The barren roadsides were littered with dead and dying men, women and children too weak to continue their painful walk. Hungry toddlers sat amidst the dust, waiting silently beside dead mothers, expecting a drink to come soon. They searched the faces of each passer by, hoping one would stop and help, but they remained unseen, their plight unheeded.
Today had been pleasing to Reuben. Macro had supplied the men and equipment needed to repair and clean up the damaged food plant. It was ironic that some soldiers responsible for the plant's destruction, had been ordered by their commander to carry out the repairs.


At last, thought Reuben, the land I came to as a child refugee is mine. Why then is there a hint of sadness in this possession? Is it because of my boyhood tie to David?  He didn't really care what had become of David. He had the land and that was all that mattered.(2)

 

With these thoughts chasing around inside his head he flicked off the bedside lamp. His body ached from today's manual labour. Tomorrow the plant would begin operations.  Reuben couldn't tell how long he had been asleep. At first he thought the noise was part of his recurring nightmares. As he swung his legs over the side of the bed, the force of a sudden explosion threw him to the floor. Although the sun had risen earlier Reuben now groped around in the dark. The sun was covered by blackness.(3) He pulled himself slowly to his knees, dazed but unhurt. Shattered glass, broken crockery and spluttering electrical wires made his movements hazardous. Creeping on all fours he managed to reach the window, now just a glass-less frame. Searching the skies, Reuben noticed a blood red moon set in a trailing rain of falling stars. Great craters were gouged into the ground where the stars or meteorites plummeted to earth, illuminating the area like sky rockets on Guy Fawkes day. Reuben braced himself, then ran outside to escape falling timber and debris. He switched on his solar transistor and heard a disjointed report.


'People fled their homes as earthquakes and frightening cosmic disturbances hit many parts of the world. It has been reported that islands in the Mediterranean Sea, along with surrounding mountains, have either disappeared or shifted some kilometres. Many are saying this is the result of a nuclear explosion causing the atmosphere to roll back on itself. People are seeking shelter in underground tombs and caves. Numbers of those killed are not yet to hand.'

 

With a mighty roar the factory erupted into a huge fireball. The strong winds sent orange and red tongues of fire leaping into the sky. Reuben watched David's newly restored food plant collapse like a stack of cards. Smoke billowed upwards and mingled as though with the dust of God's fury and power.(4) Whether nuclear war or enormous cosmic upheaval, Reuben's only thought was of escape. The news broadcast continued.


'The Jewish Temple, in Jerusalem is filling with people crying out that God is responsible for today's disasters. Their fear is so great they were heard to say they would rather die like those killed by falling mountains or rubble, rather than face God's wrath.'


Reuben remembered David once told him God was a God of love. Why then was this happening? Was God judging all people and their wickedness? If so, who would survive His severe hand? Perhaps David's God is the one and only true God! But where does Macro fit into these events? As these questions came, Reuben was aware of an eerie silence around him. His radio reported that earthquakes and atmospheric disturbances had suddenly ceased in Jerusalem and in other parts of the earth still in radio or satellite contact. Reuben picked his way carefully over the scattered ruins around the plant. Much of it, along with all Reuben's dreams, had slithered into black nothingness.

 

Macro and Warwick emerged unscathed from their underground headquarters in Jerusalem. Neither spoke as they stepped precariously over the tumbled ruins. Each contemplated their next move. People fell prostrate on the streets - not before Macro - rather in fear of Almighty God and His awesome power. Thousands had been killed and much of Jerusalem lay in ruins. Macro turned angrily on his heels and returned to their headquarters, leaving Warwick to his own devices.


Scented candles flickered in Macro's gloomy chapel, forming grotesque shapes on the rock wall behind the altar. He swirled his satin lined cape over his shoulders and reached for the instruments of his craft. Holding a golden dagger in one hand and a piece of black onyx, encrusted with pink diamonds in the other, he began his chant. The diamonds, like those on his ring, picked up slithers of candle light as his footsteps paced out a pattern on the floor.
"Let these emblems pierce the darkness oh lord and master."


There was a brilliant flash that illuminated the spot where Macro stood and a jeering evil voice was heard.   "Very soon, you will see my demons wreak havoc on the world. I Satan am their commander."


A sadistic laugh trailed off into the distance as the bright light faded from around Macro. He had made contact with his master.(5)  "Just as Satan caused Judas to betray Jesus, I Macro have tricked many, causing them to betray friends and family," chuckled Macro in wicked delight. His vileness knew no bounds.
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 23 NovelNotes

1. The famine, starvation and death that occurs at this time is predicted in Scripture. The famine and starvation is known as one of God's preliminary judgements. See Revelation, Chapter 6, verses 5-6. The death that results is also predicted in Revelation, Chapter 6, verses, 7-8.

2. Reuben could not understand spiritual things, because he was not born of the Spirit of God, Who alone can provide such understanding. See the book of 1st Corinthians Chapter 2, verses 10 to 14.

3. The sun being covered in blackness is the beginning of another of God's judgements which the Bible calls the 6th seal. It will be as though the earth was exploding in one gigantic atomic blast. See Revelation, Chapter 6, verses 12 to 17.

4. God's judgements on mankind are quite justified, as He has given mankind ample time to repent of their sin and has now ushered in a time of judgement which men will hate. But all any person has to do to avoid this coming judgement is to believe in Jesus Christ and repent of their earlier sin of not acknowledging Him in their life. Had they done so prior to the rapture they would have been included in it.


5. Just as it is possible for believers in Jesus Christ to commune with Him by spiritual means, so can evil people communicate with Satan. There are many Satan worshippers today, who, unless they repent, will suffer the judgements of God.

 

Continue to Chapter 24