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Chapter 7

Reuben opened his refrigerator and inspected the contents. With a plate of olives, cucumber and tomatoes in one hand, and a loaf of crusty bread in the other, he headed for his study. The answering machine's red light flashed like a beacon, reminding him there was unfinished business to attend to.

He took the crumpled note from his pocket before checking the messages. The voice on the tape delivered a precise message. He noticed the return number was the same as that given him by his secretary Dianna. With his appetite satisfied, he dialled the number.


"Hello, Peter here." came the reply.


"Reuben returning your call. Sorry I couldn't get back to you earlier. I was busy showing some friends over my warehouse. They were overawed by the same equipment you saw last week."


"Hope they aren't planning to buy you out," laughed Peter. "No hope of that. They both have other interests."


"Good! I have met with the head and filled him in on your latest technology. He asked me to be his only contact with you and instructed me to make you an offer of U.S.$10 million for total rights to all plans and equipment. He will remain anonymous and stressed you must sign a relinquishment agreement."


"I will need 24 hours to consider the offer Peter. I don't understand all the secrecy, but however.......


" Reuben leant back with hands clasped behind his head. His mind whirled as a sudden surge of excitement set his thoughts in motion. What could he do with ten million dollars? The world was at his fingertips. He was at a turning point in his life. He would be free from all that tied him to Greece. His roots were planted more deeply in the soil of Israel than he had realized. His Arab friends still struggled and fought to regain the land taken from them. Women and children were forced from their homes, their possessions destroyed, leaving them, as of old, a wandering people. Yes, he thought, I will accept the offer, although I am curious about the new owner. Why the secrecy? What will he use the equipment for?


Later the following night, Peter dialled Rome.


"I have arranged the deal. The equipment and rights are ours. Reuben, the fool, signed the contract late tonight. All is ready for your next move."


An evil chuckle crackled down the line.


"We have a lot to organize. Send two agents into each country to set up facilities for manufacturing the equipment.. The selling price of this item must be kept to a minimum. Every person in the developed world must own this product. This is essential," he added with emphasis.


"I have instructed other agents to take over all multi-national communication groups. This will be done in one foul swoop. Just as I engineered the money crash, I intend to control other resources. Deception is important. We must have total control." He paused.


"No spare parts will be available for any other systems, forcing people to use ours. Eventually we will decree this. You will set up our major plant here in Rome."


"As you say...," Peter replied, just as the phone went dead.

David, Ari and Helen sat mulling over events of the last two weeks. After the Olympic Games, crowds had worked themselves up to fever pitch by dancing in the streets. Competitors and spectators exchanged flags, T-shirts and the like. The athletic aliveness of people on these days, belied what was to come in the near future. The poor and the homeless continued to sift through the litter and rubbish of Athens, always hoping for some treasure. The successful competitors continued to wear their gold, silver or bronze medals proudly for all to see. People lined the streets to cheer the winners as the motorcade drove past. Allegations of drug taking by some, but never proven, were now forgotten. Today, they were all heroes. The Olympic flame had been extinguished, but already athletes were planning and training for the next Olympics.


"Athens should settle down now the games are over. This has been a busy time for you Ari, with my visit, and Reuben also spending time here."


Ari responded with his news, "By the way, Reuben rang last night to tell us he has sold the business and all rights to his new product. He is booked to fly to Israel next week on your flight. Someone must have made him a really good offer. I would have thought, with the present money crisis, the sale of a large business would have been impossible."


Just then, Nicholas, Ari's son bounded down the stairs two at a time.


"Hey Dad, will you help me with my homework? It's due tomorrow and I hate religious studies. I can't see what use it is today anyway."


"Not my best subject son. Perhaps Mum and David could help too."
Ari glanced at the questions on the sheet headed, 'Good and Evil'. He handed it back to Nicholas who sat at the table chewing the end of his well nibbled ball point.


"You read out the questions and we'll toss you a few answers to think about."


Nicholas began with the first question.


'What is religion?'


"That's easily answered. Look it up in your dictionary."


Nicholas logged onto his computer dictionary and the answer soon appeared on the screen. System of faith and worship. Human recognition of superhuman control. Personal God entitled to obedience.


He transferred the answer to his word processor.


"The second question is, 'Does religion make us good?'


"You had better get some if it does," laughed Helen, his mother.
"What do you think David?"


"I remember my Dad telling me all people can be both good and evil, depending on the degree to which they follow God. I don't think that religion in itself makes us good. Our old Rabbi used to tell us only God and his angels are good." "There is both good and evil in the world son," Ari added.


"Yes, but if man chooses to go his own way then God lets him. Man really can't blame God for everything."


David glanced across the room to Ari. His once worldly fun loving, college friend had become a serious thinking responsible father, helping his only son choose the right path.


"Enough Dad, I get the picture. We'll be here all night at this rate. Listen to question three.


'If there is both good and evil in the world, who or what causes evil?'


Nicholas thought out loud, "If God is good, and the opposite to God is Satan, then Satan must cause evil."


"Sounds a good answer," interjected David. "God and angels are good, but Satan and his fallen angels are evil."


The next question, "Is man born evil?"


Nicholas wriggled in his seat and began to swing his legs as if ready to dart off at any moment.


"How can a new born baby be born evil. They are so cuddly. All they do is sleep, eat and cry, just like Elena did."


"Yes Nicholas," continued David.


"I used to wonder about that too. My Rabbi's answer was that it was all Adam's fault because he disobeyed God in the garden of Eden. That's when evil came into the world. We have all inherited that evil from Adam.(1)But God sent Jesus to make it possible for us to change."


"I don't want to be changed! I'm happy the way I am. I'm sick of these silly questions. The last one is, "What is eternal life?"(2)
"That's easy. We had those words in our English class the other day. It means never ending life."


"Spot on." grinned Ari.


"I can't imagine life never endi

ng. I think the question means more, don't you David?"


"As a young boy, I was taught that only the good have eternal life and all the rest suffer eternal punishment."


"Gross," groaned Nicholas. "Mum and Dad always forgive me for what I do wrong."


"That's it," responded David excitedly. When you say sorry to God, you confess what you have done wrong, and you're forgiven. The guilt is gone."


"Cool, sounds easy." "It is," David agreed.


"If you have been forgiven for all your sin, then you are born again, as Christians say - and do have eternal life."


"Wow - supernatural.(3) But what has all this got to do with my homework about good and evil?"


"Everything. God, being only good, has actually already defeated Satan and makes it possible for us to be good."


"But there is still evil in the world."


"Right again! God still permits Satan to use evil, but only so we will seek God to get the help we need to cope with the evil."


From across the room, Ari clapped slowly and rhythmically.


"And so ends today's sermon. A pity you're leaving next week David. I've never seen such interest in boring homework. Off you go for a swim now Nicholas."


Nicholas sprang out of his seat, arms and legs a-tangle in his rush to get away.


"You are a dark horse David. I didn't know you were a Christian. How did your parents react when you told them."


"Dad is still a Moses(4) man and is not too keen, although Mum, was quite excited. She has always believed in her heart, but has never spoken against Dad's Jewish beliefs, or his upbringing. His parents did what they thought was right. Judaism was their inheritance. Dad always encouraged me to make my own choices. We share precious times discussing religion. Dad believes God created all things. An example he used has always stuck in my memory. He said scientists discovered the cluster of stars called Pliades always stayed together as they moved through the heavens, whilst the cluster called Orion actually are moving apart. Dad said this information is in the oldest book in the Bible, the book of Job. Job knew this because God told him what to write. God knew the movements of these stars because He made them"(5)


"His religion, your religion, what does it matter? As long as each person has the right to practice their own beliefs, the world would be a better place."


"Not sure about that Ari. Many people are being brainwashed by clever religious fanatics. There may be some elements of truth in some religions, but Christianity is based on Jesus Christ." "But he was just another prophet, wasn't he?"


"No, the fact is that He is the Son of God.(6) Not every one can see that," replied David.


Helen had finished reading Elena her bedtime story and caught the end of David's reply.


"There are so many religions in the world today. The push towards the One World Church is really trying to lump all religions together, and you can't really do that can you David?"

 


"No, it's like mixing oil and water. They can't mix because they have fundamental differences."


You know David, deep down I'm an old fashioned Greek", commented Ari. "I enjoy family life and believe in marriage. Society needs a strong moral code with men generally the main providers and head of the family unit. I want the freedom to choose which church my family attends. Doesn't matter much at the moment. We don't belong to any particular church. I had thought of going to that new church near the bank, called The Real Truth Community Church. How about we all go on Sunday?"
"A good way to end my holiday", responded David.

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 7 NovelNotes

1. If Adam and Eve had not sinned against God in the garden of Eden, they would have lived forever. However, because they sinned, all other people born since then have been born with the sin nature in their heart, inherited from Adam. This is clearly evident in children. We do not have to teach them to be naughty - it is born into them, but we do have to teach them to be good.

2. Eternal life does not mean we continue in this body in the way we live at the moment. At the time of death, the body goes to the grave, but at the resurrection, those who had believed in Jesus Christ before their death, are resurrected into new bodies that live forever.

3. The term supernatural means outside of normal natural logic. Mostly, supernatural things cannot be explained by science. The Bible is a book with many supernatural events, such as the waters of the Dead Sea parting for Moses to go across on dry land. In our times, supernatural means are also used for evil purposes by witches. Many films are now being made with supernatural elements, to extend the deception that God's enemies want to bring about.

4. Moses was the leader of the Hebrew people for about 40 years (from about 1500 B.C.) and almost led them into the Promised land. Joshua replaced him as leader.

5. Pliades is known as a bound cluster, which means that the relative position of the stars do not change. Orion on the other hand is a loose cluster and the stars in the cluster are moving further and further apart. Scientists have only discovered this in the last 30 years. However, it is a wonderful support, not only for creation by God, but also as evidence that God wrote the Scriptures. The book of Job was written around 1970 B. C.

6. The fact that Jesus is the Son of God is the distinguishing feature of Christianity. It is this characteristic of Jesus Christ that gives Christianity its truth and eternal significance.

Continue to Chapter 8