Monica, Tess, Gloria, and Rafael perched on the edge of the prison roof, waiting for Andrew. A cool breeze ruffled their hair. Gloria raised her face to the wind, to enjoy its coolness. "When Andrew returns, we will get my car," Tess said. "Juanita and Tony will need much comforting at this time."

Monica sighed. "And so do so many others whose loved ones the pope's henchmen have had executed." She clasped her hands in her lap. Her pearl earrings swung as she shook her head. "Miguel's death was actually quite merciful. So many of the executions have been quite brutal and bloody."

Andrew appeared, perching next to her. Monica smiled at him. "How was the trip?"

"Glorious." Andrew beamed. "Miguel and James are in the Father's arms now, and reunited with Juanita's family. And they will stay with Him until He sends His Son to come back." He bit his lower lip. "We have much to do until then."

"Indeed, we do," Tess agreed. "The pope's days are numbered, but the Antichrist's reign of terror still lies ahead."

Gloria tilted her head, puzzlement in her eyes. She had been struggling with a couple of questions for weeks now; now she determined to seek some answers that day. "One thing I don't understand." She gazed at Andrew, then at Tess. "Isn't Vatican City—in Rome—the center of Roman Catholicism?"

"Yes, it is," Andrew told her. "It's been the center of Catholicism for centuries now."

"Then why has the pope moved his headquarters to Iraq? To Babylon?" Gloria pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose and tilted her head.

"Because, baby, deep in his spirit, he feels that Babylon is a more fitting headquarters for the new religion he leads and preaches, than for the old Catholicism of which he was pope." Tess' voice hardened. "Occultism was first formed in that particular region, and it reached its zenith in the city of Babylon. There's no time to tell you its history now, Gloria, but the demonic spirit of Babylon has existed in this world ever since, and has held sway over many kingdoms and empires. It held sway over Rome during the time of Christ. And it holds sway again now, over the whole earth. Even over Puccini, but only for the moment."

Monica nodded agreement. "And it has become very rich and opulent in the last few years. The pope has taken the Catholic Church's wealth for himself and acquired more. He has devoted it all to the building of his religious empire. He means to push Puccini aside and become the world dictator himself."

"And he's shed the blood of many Tribulation saints in the process. He began to do that even before he left Rome, but it has really picked up since he moved." Tess shook her head. "But the end is coming for him. In his spirit, he senses that, too. That's another reason he moved his headquarters to Babylon. Because he knows he isn't too popular with Puccini or the European Union anymore. He believes he's safer in Iraq than he would be in Italy."

Furrowing her eyebrows, Gloria bowed her head, gazing at the prisoners in the courtyard. For a long moment, she watched them milling around in their blue prison uniforms, talking, exercising. "I don't understand. The new pope surely knows that Jesus is Lord and Savior. Is that not taught in the Catholic Church's catechism, its prayer books, and its writings?"

"Yes, it was, Gloria. But the new pope swept all that away, when he unified all the world religions into one and made the occult its foundation." Monica crossed her legs. "The disappearance of all true believers in the Rapture from the Catholic Church, as well as from all Protestant denominations, made it possible for an apostate pope to do that. He is pope in name only; he does not recognize the true God, and neither do his followers. He follows a demonic, occultic religion spearheaded by Satan."

Andrew craned his neck to face Gloria. "You know, that's why his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, fought so long and so tenaciously to hold onto his post. He was a conservative Catholic; he feared that his successor would be a liberal apostate, and that he would lead the church astray. And his fears proved to be well-founded, especially in the Rapture's aftermath. The Catholic Church just happened to possess the wealth and the organization needed to unify and change the world's religions as the new pope has done."

Tess pursed her lips. "It certainly did. And the new pope was more than eager to take the job when he was approached by the leaders of the other religions to help them make world peace by unifying their religions. And since then, he has sought to stamp out the revival of worship of the true God by imprisoning and executing Tribulation believers." She shook her head. "That is just a small foretaste of what Puccini will do to the believers when Satan indwells him."

Gloria nodded. "Seems to me the pope needs an angel more than anyone, then. Especially if his end is going to be as bad as I've been told." She lifted her gaze from the prisoners to the barbed-wire fences surrounding the prison.

Monica nodded agreement. "I agree, Gloria. And he will get one when the time comes. But even if he repents and turns to God, that will not save him from the death that faces him, or from the destruction of his religious empire."

"If he repents, though, it will save his own soul," Rafael added. "And that's worth more than anything."

Tess rose to her feet. "Well, there's much to do until that day of decision comes, so let's get to it. The Father has told me He has another assignment for us as soon as Miguel's funeral has been held, so let's take Juanita home and assist in the funeral arrangements for her brother."

The angels left. A snow-white dove flew overhead, cooing softly.


©2004, by Kathy Green

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