Rubbing the sand and sleep from his eyes, Asher stumbled out of bed when he heard something and realized with a horrible feeling he was not alone in the dugout. His rifle? He had not kept it close enough--he was getting a little too sloppy about such things. Now in the dark he couldn't put his hands on it.
Someone switched on a lantern so they could see each other.
Smiling, his gold-teeth glinting, the Beduoin-robed general threw Asher his weapon.
Flustered, Asher hastily saluted as best he could with his weapon in one hand, but the general chuckled. "At ease, lieutenant! This is an unofficial call. I want you to do something--something for you and me."
A big, tall man was standing in the doorway, silhouetted against the pre-dawn light.
She didn't recognize him momentarily, but then saw it was Asher out of uniform.
"Please pardon me for this early a visit, Mrs. Turnbull, but--but I had to come--my CO just gave me my orders, that I must go to the Bible woman at once, rather than sleep in as I had planned. I have an hour and a half before I must report back to him. Could you teach me the Bible--the Messianic prophecies that Aloes told me about? He said you knew all about them, and I don't know about anyone else who can teach me in this camp."
Heloise nearly fell backwards. "That's a strange order from an Israeli commander to his lieutenant!" she thought. But she wasn't going to argue--he was obviously telling her the truth.
Harry had come out in his robe by this time, and together they stared speechless at the Israeli sabra.
She repeated to Harry what Asher just said, though he had heard every word.
The Israeli didn't look at all crazy, so Heloise managed a smile. "Of course! I will teach you anything you want to know. We have two Bibles, and that is all the equipment we need. But you need a notebook and pencil, which I will get for you. Can you wait outside for twenty minutes, while I get ready?"
Asher nodded, then went outside to wait, sitting on one of two stools that someone had set up there.
Heloise, dressed, came out with two Bibles, and Harry brought his own notebook and pen and handed it to Asher. He touched his wife's arm.
"Dear, are you sure you are up to this? It may be a little too soon to--"
Heloise, her mind taken off her own great loss, was more sure of this. "Yes, I wll do it! I never turn down a serious student of the Bible, Harry! It isn't in me to do that. You know that much about me, since you wouldn't do it either!"
"All right then," he mumbled. He left them to their study, and he went to explain to Myrrha, Cassia, and the other women what was happening and ask them not to disturb them.
Though rusty after seven years of forced "retirement" from her ministry, Heloise knew she hadn't forgotten everything from the years of study and teaching she had put in even before her ministry caught fire and she became a big name in Pentecostal circles. It was second nature to her, and surely she could do it again, if she only went a bit slowly at first.
Settled on two crude stools, which some tourist company camel herder had left at Petra, the has-been American televangelist and still grieving mother opened her Bible, and her first student--raised a secularist Jew--opened Harry's Bible.
Could she! Something like joy stirred in her broken, mother's heart, and then she thought something strange. Could this be the restart of her ministry? How else could she explain this coming of Asher, right after they had lost her son. The thought was so comforting, she almost broke and wept at the thought of the merciful kindness of the Lord for her, but she mastered her feelings and proceeded.
She glanced at her watch, then began.
"First we will divide up the Messianic prophecies into seven groupings. It makes him easier to understand if we use an outline. We will look at His Person, His Nature, His Appearing, His Offices, His Mission and Ministry, His Suffering and Death, and His Future. Next, let us start with His Person--if you agree to that. Any questions about this first section before we start?"
Asher nodded as he quickly jotted the titles down in his notebook. He looked up. "Yes, I have a couple things. I can't understand how the Messiah could be both God and man."
Heloise smiled. "It is a stupendous mystery to the human mind, is it not? But the Bible clearly teaches this is the case with Yeshua the Messiah, and so you will soon see. You can study these scriptures on your own, but take them down and we will look at as many as you have time for. If I start with several other aspects of him first, when we get to the "God-Man" part you will have a much better foundaton."
"As being human, the scripture is Genesis 3:15. As descendant of Abraham, Genesis 22:18. As being from the Tribe of Judah, Genesis 49:10. As a son of David, Isaiah 11: 1-2, Jeremiah 23: 5-6, and, as living eternally, I Chronicles 17: 10b-14." Finallyt, as God-Man and Jehovah, Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9: 6-7, Jeremiah 23: 5-6, Micah 5:2, Zechariah 12: 10, Zechariah 13: 7, Psalm 80: 17, and Psalm 110: 7."
Asher finished his notes, then looked up with amazement. "There's an awful lot about his being God-Man, isn't here? I had no idea the prophets wrote so much about it!"
His head was whirling with questions about it, but Heloise closed her Bible. "If you will first look these scriptures over, and you may take Harry's Bible until we can round up another, then come back when you can find the time and I will go over them with you. Will you do that?"
When Asher had gone, Heloise stood leaning against the stone of the dooryard. She was almost collapsing--wondering what was happening. Could it be the Lord had smiled on her, and was going to use her after all? Was this coming of Asher the sign of a some new beginning?
Heloise looked Harry keenly in the eyes. "I think the Lord is saying something by this. We are being given a brand-new thing--a new life, just as this butterfly signifies new life and transformation."
Harry said nothing. His hand, grasping hers, squeezed hers hard. "I think so too. Perhaps Aloes is still with us after all."
Heloise had to sit down as she thought about it. "Am I going crazy?" she wondered. But she couldn't deny what was happening and what she was seeing. Suddenly, life had changed for her and them all. First the wonderful fragrance of aloes in the tomb! Then Asher popping up for Bible study--an Israeli soldier wanting to know the Messianic prophecies! Then the Voice of the Lord. Then the huge, electic blue butterfly! And finally the vision of Asher--a sabra and Israeli, speaking or preaching! She could scarcely take it all in. Life had been bitter and without hope just a short time ago--made doubly so by Aloes's death--but now--now--it was a new dawn, a new day.
They had forgotten breakfast. "Le's go outside and get some fresh air, Harry."
Asher was back early, and the general was pacing up and done, muttering Arabic and Hebrew on the phone, communicating with his various units. Asher went about doing his housekeeping, trying to make it more presentable for a general's inspecting eye. Then he started work on looking up the scripture references in his notebook.
Finally, just as Asher was finished with the God-Man section reading, the general turned to him.
"Well, Major, how did things go in the Bible study?"
Report to my headquarters in twenty minutes. We have a little ceremony planned--as best we can manage it in these, ah, sparse circumstances! I also want you to get Honorary Commando Aloes Turnbull's parents and friends to come if you can. I have something for them."
Without any explanation, the general turned back to the Bible study.
"The reason you are to train with the Bible woman is that she will give you an exact timetable for the events we are now experiencing and are soon about to experience. It is totally accurate. The ignorant, secularist world has ignored and ridiculed the End-Times eschatology of the Book of Revelation to its great harm. I shall not! Report to me everything she tells you. But I must get ready for your promotion ceremony, Major--so your first report will have to wait a day!"