A DEADLY RAGE
What would Tess, Monica, Andrew, and Gloria do, if they found themselves during the end-times scenario prophesied in the Bible, prior to Jesus' coming? What kinds of assignments would they receive? How would they handle their assignments? This alternate-universe series is my attempt to answer that question, to surmise how the angels would handle the events of the Rapture and the Tribulation.
The first story in this ongoing series was written by Robin Day and myself. The rest, I am writing on my own.
In story #8 of my end-times series, it is the middle of the Tribulation, and the murder-resurrection of Moses and Elijah and the murder-Satanic indwelling of Antonio Puccini are set to take place. Can the angels stop the perpetrators from taking part in the two murders, with the help of some old friends? And when an earthquake traps a young girl following the resurrection of Moses and Elijah, will she be found in time?
NOTE: The physical descriptions of the two witnesses, Moses and Elijah, and the names they go by, were borrowed from the Left Behind series, co-authored by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. K.G.
"Ryan Whittaker has outlived his usefulness to me." The unmistakable Italian accent came through the carved mahogany door, muted but still clear. "He has turned to that mythical Jesus, and so has his wife." Antonio Puccini paused. "The time has come to eliminate them both."
"And their children, too?" Elijah Dayan's unmistakable thick Israeli accent.
Puccini chuckled. "Kill them, when they could be such an invaluable asset to us when they are older?" He paused. "I think not, Elijah. I will turn them over to a trusted associate to rear. He has agreed to act as their foster parent. He will rear them to be loyal."
The thuds of a pair of leather shoes reached the eavesdropper's ears, followed by Elijah's own chuckles. "With the pope dead and his religion gone..." He paused. "I think they should be taught to revere you. That new world religion was too impersonal, anyway. Its assets will be put to better use by you than it was by Pope Benedict." Dayan laughed. "Very well, Excellency. When do you plan to kill them?"
"Tonight. When I return from Rome." A pause. "I will order Ryan and Kristen to meet me at the airport, and there I will have assassins shoot them."
The eavesdropper could not bear to hear anymore. He was in shock. He had long since begun to have his doubts about Puccini, but he had never imagined that their beloved world leader would be capable of something like this! A mixture of rage toward Antonio and fear for his friends, Ryan and Kristen, surged through him. He had to warn them immediately!
The man took a deep breath, clenching his hands into white-knuckled balls and pressing them against his hips. Slowly, he tiptoed away from the door to Dayan's office, his own shoes clicking softly on the linoleum floor. "I've got to warn them," he muttered. "I'm not going to stand by and let them be murdered by their own employer!" He pursed his lips at the thought, then brushed his light-brown hair out of his eyes.
As unwanted memories of that morning rose in his head, he made a valiant effort to resist smashing his fist against the wall. "And my own sister!" he muttered. "To think that she'd turn traitor to our faith and…and…" He shook his head. "Ryan and Kristen accepting that mythical Messiah is one thing. They're not of our faith anyway, so I have no problem with their decision. But Deborah is something else. I will not have her praying to this—this Yeshua!" He shook his fist in the air. "If it hadn't been for those repulsive preachers at the Wailing Wall, she never would have! She goes to visit them every chance she gets! I wish someone would kill them!"
He glared at the oil painting on the wall, then took a deep breath. This was not the time to explode in anger; this was the time for prayer. Leaning against the wall, he bit his lower lip. Wish I had my prayer shawl, he thought. As an old craving welled up in him, he bit his lower lip. And a cigarette! He sighed. I've got to quit smoking! I'm ruining my health.
He took another deep breath. "God of our fathers—Jehovah," he prayed, "I'm faced with a crisis I don't know how to deal with. Antonio Puccini wants to murder my good friends, Ryan and Kristen. And my sister has rejected our faith and turned Christian."
He raised his hand to strike the wall, then dropped it. He could ill-afford to risk attracting attention just then. "I ask You, Jehovah, to intervene. Please bring my sister back to her senses. And please protect Ryan and his family."
Opening his eyes, he trudged down the hall, till he came to the elevators. He paused for a moment, then pressed the elevator button. As soon as he could, he would contact Ryan and warn him. Unknown to him, four angels stood across the hall, watching the morose Israeli Jew wait for the elevator.
"His name is David Weizmann," Tess, the heavy-set black supervisor angel, said. "He lives alone with his younger sister, Deborah here in Jerusalem, and he works directly for Elijah Dayan." The mass of salt-and-pepper curls piled on her head swayed as she shook her head in evident disapproval at the man's attitude. A ruby brooch sparkled on her chest.
Monica, the Irish-tongued caseworker angel, frowned. "He works for the False Prophet?"
Andrew nodded. "Yes, he does." He inserted his hands into his pants pockets as he spoke.
Gloria tilted her head, eyebrows furrowed in puzzlement. "His sister's been visiting Moses and Elijah?" She fingered her glasses, then slid them up the bridge of her nose.
Tess nodded. "Yes, she has, and thanks to them, she's become a Tribulation believer. Deborah's always been loyal to her brother, and she's quite concerned about him. Unfortunately, his hostility toward her new faith could drive a wedge between them that destroys them both."
Monica nodded agreement. "Where is Deborah?"
"At the Wailing Wall," Tess said. "Speaking privately with the two witnesses right now. Come with me, and I will point her out to you."
The angels left. The elevator door slid open; the man stepped inside.
"I'm so worried about my brother." Deborah spoke softly, not wanting to attract attention. "He's a good man, but he's so stubborn." She sighed. "He thinks he's right to reject Yeshua as Messiah, because he think Yeshua's an impostor. I can't get him to realize that the prophecies all point to Him!" She bit her lower lip. "I'm afraid to even talk about Yeshua to David anymore, or pray in front of him."
The three stood alone in an enclosed spot near the Wailing Wall. The afternoon sunlight illuminated the whole area; fluffy white clouds drifted across the sky. For once, Deborah had found the two witnesses alone, a most unusual occurrence during the day. A few minutes before, when she had arrived, Eli had beckoned to her and gestured toward that spot. As always, he and Moishe wore ragged sackcloth robes and went barefoot. Both had long gray beards and long mustaches; lines crisscrossed their faces. Now, as she wrapped her arms around her chest, he nodded. The now-familiar scent of ashes wafted toward Deborah's nose.
"Think not that Jesus came to bring peace, but a sword," Eli paraphrased.
Deborah brushed a tear out of her eye. "I know. And that sword can tear families apart." She sighed. "I love my older brother, and I don't want to lose him. What should I do?"
"Pray for him, and trust God." Moishe touched her shoulder. "God loves your brother. He will never leave you nor forsake you."
The young woman smiled wanly. "Thank you." She half-turned to look behind her. "I must go now." She walked away, with a lighter, brisker step than the slow trudge she had approached them with. Her shoes clicked on the rectangular stone tiles lining the area in front of the Wailing Wall.
The same four angels watched her go. "Deborah and her brother were born in Yugoslavia, when it was still under Communist control," Tess said. "When David was five and Deborah was just a baby, her parents took the kids and escaped. Along with the family of their uncle."
Monica gaped at her, then at the departing Deborah. "I remember them! Their lives were in mortal danger, so God sent me to—"
"To save their lives," Tess finished. "To get them safely out of the country."
Monica nodded, clasping her hands in front of her waist. "Yes. I was still in Search and Rescue, then."
Andrew shook his head. "David doesn't know it, but he's going to have to flee again, very soon. The murders of Moses and Elijah are just days away now."
"And the murder of Antonio Puccini?" Gloria tilted her head.
"Yes. But he will come back, indwelt by Satan." Tess shook her head. "When he does, he will commit the abomination of desolation. Then every Jew in Israel will have to flee to Petra, including David." She paused, folding her arms across her chest. "The Father is soon going to enlist the help of some old friends of ours, in saving their lives—Richard and Christina Daly. And that of Ryan and Kristen. But before that day comes, David must learn to accept the truth."
Gloria winced. "Will David murder the two witnesses?"
Andrew shook his head. "No, Gloria, Puccini will do that. But his cohort, Dayan, is going to enlist David's help in preparing for it." He sighed. "It won't be easy, to get through to David. His own hostility toward the witnesses runs deep."
Monica sighed in her turn, sadness welling up in her. She watched the young Israeli woman until she disappeared around the corner. Overhead, a snow-white dove flew over the Wailing Wall; the two witnesses raised their heads to watch it disappear.
END OF PROLOGUE