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Chapter 8

David, Ari, Helen and the children hurried into the Real Truth Community Church. They quickly squeezed into the only large space remaining in the back row. The Minister, Anthony Vanidis, sat behind the young singer, his foot tapping out the catchy rhythm of a new chorus. The congregation clapped and moved to the music as the band played, 'He is alive and we are free.' Their movements and enthusiasm certainly exhibited an air of freedom. It wasn't long before Nicholas and Elena were also moving to the music. Earlier they had both grumbled because going to church meant missing their usual Sunday morning swim. As the music ended people settled into their seats. The minister rose to speak. His infectious smile and welcoming words had a quietening effect on the children.


"Today I want to continue this month's theme .....'Christ's return.'(1) I am well aware the money crash is on everyone's mind, but today I am asking you to try and put that aside as we deal with other things, which finally, are much more important. As I cautioned last week, I ask you to be beware of false doctrines and so-called prophets, who tell it differently from the Bible. Jesus' first coming(2) is written of in the Bible where His second coming is also predicted......... it will certainly take place. So far, hundreds of Bible prophecies have occurred as predicted.(3) The remaining events will also happen in God's time. "


He paused, as if assessing people's reactions to his words.


"People today are ready to accept any form of religion as leading to God.(4) This is quite misleading. Beware those religions that offer food, clothes and even housing in their own name. Some are really cults to trap unsuspecting recruits and control their lives. Although mankind needs practical things, the real need is to know God. It is good when those who understand the spiritual need also supply life's necessities. In God's word, we are told when we do this for anyone, it is as if we are doing it for God Himself."


The earnestness in his voice revealed his concern as he continued.
"Today, many governments sell off their precious assets in an attempt to gain money for social welfare programs, but poverty and strife still continue. New laws are being made, supposedly to give more freedom, but in reality people are less free and are being enslaved as moral standards decline. Society is moving from just being selfish, to being totally self-centred, with little regard for the life or well being of others. Modern technology has forced many out of once secure employment into a jobless state of aimlessness and apathy.


Against God's perfect will, children are being born into one parent families without both parents to teach and guide them. Some grow up not knowing what is right and acceptable. Violence, substance abuse, and family dysfunction are the only reality in their lives. Our youth is being deceived into joining organizations that offer help, but they are actually being indoctrinated into new age beliefs, leading them further astray. This delights Satan, who won't be satisfied until he convinces people they can do as they please. He would have them believe that man creates his own god. Satan delights in confusion and disharmony. He enjoys seeing laws passed allowing pornography and legalized drugs. He seems to be succeeding. Mankind has forgotten that his own will, a gift from God, can be used to resist Satan.


" The congregation sat motionless. Ari had not anticipated a sermon like this. He thought he would hear the same Bible stories he heard many years ago in Sunday school. Thoughts raced through his mind. What's to become of my children? Do they have any future? What can Helen and I do to avoid these traumas in our own family?


The minister returned to his pulpit and after glancing at his notes, continued to speak.


"Yes my friends, only Jesus can change our present way of living. Until He returns, these things will continue. There are no more unfulfilled predictions to occur before what Christians call the rapture.(5) When He returns, those who love and believe in Him will be taken to live with Him. Those taken from earth to heaven will miss the horrific times predicted in the Bible, a time when God will begin to judge the world and its inhabitants. We must be ready and waiting for His return. Do not lose your chance to be taken out of these terrible times to come. After the rapture, many will face certain death. Satan will continue to manipulate and control people, causing untold suffering and misery. This period of time, which will last seven years, is called the Great Tribulation."(6)
People began to fidget and the quiet calmness felt earlier was gone.


"You may ask - how do we escape these coming trials? It is so simple. It was for this very reason that God sent Jesus, His only

Son, into the world. He came that we might be saved from sin and death. ( Writer's note. I cannot remember the source of this graphic. If anyone knows, please email me so I can acknowledge the source. )

He will save us now and has promised to take us out of this world at that time. We must repent of the sin of not accepting Him as our personal Saviour. Then we will be saved. Jesus dying on the cross made the difference. He died in our place and was punished for our sin, thus giving eternal life to those who believe."


The choir stood and the band began playing softly, heralding the end of today's sermon.


"Let us all stand to sing our last hymn. As we sing I would like you all to consider the words spoken today. Know the love of God for each one of you, as He reaches out and prompts you to accept Jesus as your Saviour.(7) Those few steps to the altar will be the biggest and most important steps you will ever take. It doesn't matter what sins you have committed. You may be a thief, alcoholic, drug user, adulterer or murderer - just come as you are. God's word says, seek the Lord while He may be found."
As Ari began singing the hymn, remembered from his childhood, his heart quickened within him. He remembered the words.'Tenderly, tenderly, Jesus is calling ......' Something kept him rivetted to where he stood as some went forward, whilst others red faced and embarrassed looked at the ground. As the musicians and singers resumed their seats the minister came to where the people waited. He moved from one to another asking each the same two questions.


"Do you acknowledge that you are a sinner and are prepared to turn away from your sin? Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died so that your sins might be forgiven?"
Ari left the church relieved to be outside again. The sermon had been a bit too challenging for him. He was a man's man and could manage quite well on his own, or so he thought. 

On their way home, Ari began on a serious note.


"David, will God judge us all equally on what we do in our life and how we behave?"


David thought for a moment and replied, "I believe we will either be taken out of the coming troubles, as the minister said, or we will go through the suffering of the tribulation. Jesus is coming to judge this world."(8)


"How?" questioned Ari.


"There will be natural calamities, caused by God, like earthquakes with a ferocity never seen before."


"I can imagine those things happening, but I find it hard to believe that people will be physically taken up into the sky," joined in Helen.


"Fantastic, Mum," replied Nicholas, bouncing up and down in his seat.


"What a blast off! Can't wait till that happens."


David smiled at the boy's childlike faith, even though he was a young teenager.


The car tyres scrunched on the pebble driveway. Autumn leaves had begun to fall, painting a picture of golden brown on a canvas of fresh green grass. "Although I found some of the sermon difficult, I'm glad we went to church, David. Somehow I felt closer to Helen and the children. It was a special time. During the week we are all so busy with our own activities that I'm sure we miss many precious moments together."


A warmth of love and appreciation flushed over Helen. She was surprised and proud at her husband's openness. His words made her feel secure, words that anchored her firmly and deeply in his love. As they walked indoors David and the children began to rake up leaves and pile them into the compost bin. Ari slid his arm around Helen's slim waist and drew her to him. Their eyes searched each others as their lips briefly met. They both knew that tonight, when the house was still, they would be alone to enjoy each other.

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 8 NovelNotes

1. Jesus Christ is coming again! This is the clear teaching of the Bible. When He comes He will come as One with full authority over all people and all things in the world. This coming will have many implications for all peoples of the world, both living and dead.

2. The first coming of Jesus Christ to this earth occurred 2000 years ago. The purpose of this first coming was for Him to teach of God's ways and then die on the cross as payment for our sins - to be resurrected to show that death had been defeated and then go back to heaven to prepare a place for all believers.

3. Did you know that the coming of Christ was predicted by the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah Chapter 7, verse 14) about 730 B.C. The prophecy of Ezekiel was so accurate that even the 30 pieces of silver were specified (Zechariah chapter 11, verses 12 and 13) There are 738 significant or major prophecies in Scripture. All but 18 of these have been fulfilled precisely. The time for the remaining 18 is fast approaching.

4. Newspapers and television are full of false comments about, 'all forms of religions leading to the same God.' Honest study of Scripture reveals this to be false. Consider John Chapter 14, verse 6, which says that Jesus is the only way to God the Father. Therefore, other religions that do not acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God cannot lead to the true God.

5. The rapture will be one of the world's most amazing events. At a certain point in history, all Christian believers will vanish from the earth and be taken to heaven to be with God. It is a clear promise of Scripture. See 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4, verses 16 and 17.

6. The Great Tribulation will be a period of 2520 days or 7 Jewish years of 360 days each. It follows soon after the rapture of believers from the earth. It will be the period of greatest upheaval and trouble the world will ever see. Those who do not believe will have to suffer through it. Most will die. See Matthew Chapter 24, verse 21.

7. It is God's desire that all people believe in Him and go to heaven to be with Him. To do so, means to accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour by repenting of your sin, based on your belief in what He says in Scripture. See John, Chapter 3, verse 16. 8. All people will be judged by God, both the living and the dead and be judged according to what their beliefs and deeds were whilst on earth. See Revelation Chapter 20, verses 11 to 15.

Continue to Chapter 9