BEGINNING OF WAR

By KathyG.

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 #10 of my end-times series, a number of the Israeli Jews have just escaped to Petra. The second seal is about to be opened, and the Arab nations intend to invade Israel (with Russia's help). Can the angels help an Israeli general get ready to deal with the threat to his nation-and at the same time, accept his evangelist son's calling to preach Jesus as Messiah? And when his son is taken prisoner of war, will they be able to rescue the young man?

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The rest of this end-times series will follow, to the greatest possible extent, the sequence and scenarios described in Hal Lindsey's prophetic books. For example, the Gog-Magog war predicted in Ezekiel will occur during the second half of the Tribulation, and be intertwined with the events of Daniel 11:40-45. Likewise, from the second seal onward, the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments prophesied in the Book of Revelation will be opened during that same period, and consist of modern-day events the Apostle John lacked the vocabulary to describe for his readers. K.G.

PROLOGUE

"You have disgraced me!" The general's voice boomed throughout his office. "That's why I had you drafted, Theodor—you've been going around all over Israel, telling other Jews that this Yeshua is our Messiah. And I won't have it!"

General Amos Agnon banged his fist on his desk, glaring at his son; a paperweight jolted with a clink. Standing at attention, staring straight ahead of him, Theodor maintained a sullen composure as he listened to his father's harangue.

The 25-year-old private stood rigidly, dark-haired and slim. Churning within him was a mixture of anger toward his father and frustration that his preaching career had been messed up like this. God had called him to be an evangelist. He was supposed to be traveling throughout the nation preaching; instead, he now had to serve in the European Union-controlled Israeli Defense Forces! Furthermore, he couldn't stop worrying about what lay ahead—he knew that Israel's very survival was in mortal danger.

His father straightened his back and clasped his hands behind it. Theodor clenched his fists, pressing them against his sides.

"Get out of here," General Agnon ordered. "I want you to go back to your barracks and think about what I have said. There will be no lunch for you today."

He waved his hand to dismiss his son. Theodor saluted, then marched out of his father's office. The mahogany door clicked shut behind him. Rubbing his forehead, the 63-year-old general went to the Operations Center, the room where all nations were monitored by computer; there, he leaned against the wall, fixing his eyes on the mainframe computer monitor spanning the opposite wall. The technicians kept track of the action coming through on their screens.

So far, the general could see no sign of any hostilities about to break out, yet he could not rid himself of a continual uneasiness about the Arabs' intentions. The mere thought of having to engage them in battle terrified him. Before he could fix his thoughts, memories of a previous battle flooded into his mind; he hurried out of the Operations Center to escape them.

Back in the barracks—set at the far end of an underground bunker—the young private slumped onto his bed and reached for his woolen prayer shawl. His fellow soldiers had gone upstairs to have lunch; the barracks stood silent and empty. Rows of neatly-made beds spanned the walls, each one flanked by a dresser. Since the barracks was located underground, no light poured through a window; instead, the overhead lights shed a harsh glare throughout the lengthy room.

With a sigh, Theodor draped the prayer shawl around his shoulders. The soft wool encased his arms and covered his chest. Bowing his head, he scratched his right ear, then took a deep breath. "God of my fathers," he prayed, "my country is in real danger. I know it. I pray for Your intervention, Your rescue of our nation—my people."

He paused to slip his pocket-sized Bible out of his dresser drawer. He ran his fingers over its soft leather covers. "And Jehovah, I also pray for my father. He does not want to admit that Yeshua is the Messiah; he's convinced that Your Son is an impostor. He's so angry with me for fulfilling the calling You placed on my life, and now he's got me in this army, preparing for battle."

Raising his head, he glared at the door. He set his Bible on the polished cedar dresser, then bowed his head to continue. "Please, Jehovah," he begged, "intervene between my father and me, and release me to continue my preaching. Do something about my father, and about this threat to my country. Please send your angels to intervene." He cleared his throat. "In Yeshua's name, amen."

He picked up his Bible and leafed through it till he found a passage he'd been studying. The mattress sagged and creaked underneath him when he shifted position. As he sat slouched, eyes fixed on his Bible, five angels stood in a row across the room, watching him.

"Theodor Agnon." Tess shook her head, as she kept her eyes on the young man. "The only son of General Amos Agnon, who has stayed in Israel to help defend it. He chose not to go to Petra with the others, and Theodor made the same decision."

The heavy-set black supervisor angel turned to face the other angels. Her ruby brooch sparkled in the glare of the overhead light bulbs. "General Agnon is a man with a deeply troubled heart." She shook her head. "Unless he can conquer his fears and his memories, he will be more of a danger than an asset to the men under his command."

Andrew nodded agreement. "His son, Theodor, is one of the 144,000 called by God to evangelize the world, and so far, he's been remarkably successful. His father has opposed his son's preaching career from the beginning." He paused to insert his hands into his pants pockets. "Right now, though, he's upset and angry because he can't understand how God could possibly use him here."

"Yes. He is," Monica said softly. A sad expression etched her face as she smoothed her long, reddish-brown hair behind her shoulder.

Gloria bit her lower lip. "We can't leave Theodor in this bunker. He's supposed to be preaching, not fighting." She pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose.

Tess turned toward her. "Baby, God can use an evangelist wherever he is placed, be it in a stadium or in an army barracks. The Father will use him here, too. But we've got to help his earthly father learn the truth so he will support his son, not fight him."

Monica nodded agreement. "General Agnon is a man with some demons in his past. Demons he has not been willing to face. Demons he will not be able to exorcise unless he accepts his Messiah, and soon."

Andrew nodded. "That's going to have to change, though, and fast." He paused. "Jesus is ready to break the second seal. The War of Armageddon is about to break out, and the general will need to face his fears and his terrible memories if he is to be able to meet this threat." He furrowed his eyebrows; his eyes darkened.

"That's right." Tess scanned the angels next to her. "Moreover, he's going to have to face the fact that Puccini cannot help him—only God can. Or, to be more precise, only the Son of God can." She paused. "Four of us will help the father. It will be your job, Rafael, to help the son."

Shifting his weight from one foot to the other, the Hispanic angel chuckled. "Let me guess—I'm going to be a soldier again."

Tess fought back a mischievous grin. "Indeed you are, Angel Child. Just as you did, when the Father sent you to help that army commander and his estranged son make peace with each other so long ago." She wagged her finger as Rafael opened his mouth to speak. "And yes, I'm going to cut your hair again, so don't you even think of complaining!"

With an amused smile, Rafael nodded acquiescence, as memories of a previous assignment flooded into his mind. He had been assigned to help Monica assist an army commander and his bitter, angry son reconcile about four years before the Rapture. "Don't worry. I will do my best to help Theodor."

"And God will give you the help you need for your assignment." Monica touched his shoulder. "As He will, for us all."

The angels fell silent and turned their gaze toward Theodor. Setting his Bible on his lap, Theodor glanced at the cracked plaster ceiling for a long moment, a pleading look in his expressive eyes. "Please, Jehovah. Help us!"

END OF PROLOGUE

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