It was global war-—threat of—-that mattered most to most people. MJ’s Peace Treaty had eliminated that terrible prospect by uniting Arabs and Jews on the question of Jerusalem and Israel’s existence as a state.
With the World Government (the EU-backed leadership and its central authority lately moved to sumptuous quarters in Rome) guaranteeing Israel’s integrity and the Palestinians obliging not to seek Israel’s destruction for the guarantees they had received from the same World Government, it seemed that peace was fully assured, and while everyone was celebrating the fact the blow struck at the very root of modern civilization, threatening to bring the downfall of everyone, regardless of race, nationality, and religion.
Cyber-criminals had hacked their way into all the reigning financial institutions, and in minutes, even seconds, the global economy was disrupted so radically that nothing could stop the whole economic system crashing (even as, in an earlier form of the same paradigm, the Reichstag burned).
The city was strangely quiet, when she stepped out later on the porch to shake a dust mop. People were standing in the street, but speaking quietly, and nobody was going to work!
Heloise went down the steps, but she couldn’t make sense of what she heard from passers-by.
“My husband says nothing is working! Nothing! Cars, trucks, planes, computers—they are all down! What is happening to us?” Is the world come to an end?"
Heloise looked around at the bewildered crowds gathering in the streets, then back at Esther, and she shook her head. She knew from her long study of biblical prophets what was happening and why, but what could she say to the grossly ignorant or, worse, the arrogantly unbelieving?
When Heloise finally fell asleep, she had no idea. But when she slept, she dreamed, and she saw a rider on a white horse.
That woke her up immediately. She got the small, portable Bible of her mother’s from her purse, which she hadn’t looked at since she put it there. She turned to the part in Revelation where the rider on the white horse first appears.
Millions more would die in a few days. And in a few more days starvation and looting of food stores and private houses would surely begin. How could the army control an entire population driven by fear and hunger and pain? Israel would be destroyed. Surely, this was happening to other country in the advanced regions of the world.
As for the undeveloped nations, they too would suffer hideously, and millions of their people would also die, but they would not bear the effects so quickly as the advanced nations. For the world, it was seeming Doomsday, but she knew they still had over six years left before the final battle was fought and Christ returned.
MJ-—the World Premier-—appeared in a chandeliered hall of the European Parliament at Strasbourg, the circular main part of the 12 billion dollar complex designed after the Tower of Babel in Pieter Brughel’s famous painting!
The elegantly coifed Theodora Upjohn-St. Saens stood beside him, dressed in World Court robes, a woman she recognized as the very one who had previously presented some of the world's worst terrorist leaders with Nobel peace prizes.
"Do your stuff, you nasty, little, sneaking witch!" thought Heloise, smiling back at her.
Bowing first, the World Court Justice began, saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, people of peace everywhere, the Most Honorable Premier of the World, Sir Michael Jayson, Chairman of the Supreme Governing Council of the Federal Union of World States, speaks to you now from Earth’s parliamentary and administrative center, the Peace and Love For All Humanity Centre.”
“Greetings to all my beloved Peoples of the World! We are happy to inform you that there are absolutely no grounds for alarm in the present circumstances,” he declared. “Vicious and uncaring cyber-criminals have attacked the foundations of global society and its financial systems, but we have a plan that is now being implemented that will restore everything within forty eight hours.
Please stay in your homes until all essential systems are restored. You will receive notice when this happens from this emergency channel.
I wish to thank you, all the world’s peoples, for maintaining your trust and confidence in us in this very trying, difficult time. Local aid agencies and, as far as possible, state and governmental agencies, will do all they can to answer to basic needs of the populations. My plan will be sufficient to establish a system that will never be put to jeopardy again by these cyber-criminals and and hate-crime perpetrators-—“
The camera moved back for the awards, and the viewers were treated to the splendors of the world premier’s “office,” which looked very much like a recreation of the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles.
He was also heaped from his feet to his thighs with flower wreaths as if he were a statue of Buddha.
A golden cape with jeweled collar worthy of the Emperor Asoka was put around his shoulders, and he then sat down on a diamond-studded throne, the Peacock throne that once served the Shahs of Persia, looking very much a Persian empeor in all his glory. Who could object? Almost everyone looked to him now to rescue them from the worst disaster known to man.
“I don’t believe a word! Not one stinking word! And he looks like a--!” she cried, using a term only she knew for a certain kind of street woman, spitting on the carpet for emphasis.
Heloise found herself wondering if the old woman was maybe correct in her intuition. How could all the systems have collapsed? How could Hasidim and Orthodox Jews, aided by Christians, have been so effective to be considered a threat to the whole world order with its supporting armies and secret police?
MJ, she found, held true to his words to fix things in forty eight hours. His plan seemed to have been well-thought out. Almost as if by magic, the banks received all they needed to install and operate a completely new financial global finance system, one controlled by the EU’s economic and military capital of Rome.
It was based on a computer system only MJ possessed, and, thus, free from outside cyber-hackers.
His system could communicate with all other systems, but they could not invade his by any means. Secondly, his plan demanded that every living person, man, woman, and child, receive a computer chip, either in the hand or forehead, a chip that contained all that person’s vital stats, personal and financial.
It even was linked with a satellite tracking system.
Cash was, at one stroke, eliminated. From then on, all financial transactions could be done through the computerized system MJ operated from his headquarters in Rome. Nobody argued against it-—except the three groups he had branded as enemies of the world—because it was the solution they so desperately wanted.
The operation was painless, and took only a minute, it was so simple and easy. Nurses, not doctors, and even medics could perform the tiny operation required. Instantly equipped to transact any kind of business, the ones who took the implant were thus able to go back to work, and business and stores opened. Within a few days Israel was operating once again, with most of the people already implanted with the chip.
All over the world it was the same story, though in the undeveloped zones the whole process went slower.
Knowing what the chip meant, Heloise hung back, with Anna, from going to the implant center nearest them. Even if she refused, she had to go in to register her refusal or risk arrest, since appearance at the implant centers was mandatory.
Esther and her husband and family, too, waited a bit more, uncertain about the procedure, as thousands of Israelis still were. The Hasidim, for instance, adamantly refused the chip, and promised to die fighting if they were ever forced to take it. Heloise, with Esther, watched a newscast of fighting in the Hasidic area of the city.
Authorities tried to set up an implant center there, and the Hasidim threw gasoline on it, and burned it to the ground. Troops were sent in, but they only encountered a mass uprising. Tanks appeared, but no general would give the order to proceed against fellow Jews, and they were covered with rotten fruit and vegetables by the jeering Hasidim. Seeing this, Esther and her husband held back, with Anna, from going in to have the chip implanted.
This wasn’t easy for Heloise, but she brought out her Bible, and she read to Esther the portions dealing with the chip, which could only be what the Apostle John called the mark of the Beast. She also carefully explained what was meant by the Beast, with his blasphemies and rebellion against God and his program of self-deification and persecution of all who opposed worshiping him as God. Esther listened, her eyes nearly closed, breathing hard.
“Will you receive the mark?” she asked Heloise.
“No, as a Christian I cannot. It is God’s eternal word of warning, that anyone who receives it will be destroyed by the Lord God. It is the mark of a wicked Beast who rules the world, and every Jew or Gentile who takes it will surely be as doomed as heathen people were doomed in places like old, idol-worshiping Jericho in the days of Joshua.”
They claimed satellites were absolutely bogus since they were supposedly set in orbit round a world that was not circular in the least--and everybody sensible, the society smilingly concluded in its broadcast, should know you can’t set rectangular orbits out of free-flying satellites.
There were loud words in the daughter’s quarters when her husband returned with the implant. Heloise heard worse sounds, and then Esther came out, her children with her, and they fled to Anna’s quarters.
“What is going on?” the old woman demanded, gathering her three grandchildren to her though they were deathly afraid of her.
“Shimon is demanding that I and the the children also be marked. But I will not do it! I feel it is an evil thing somehow! An—an abomination!”
Anna was furious with her daughter. “Why should you feel that way? You know nothing about it! I will have it done, when they come for me! Not until! Or you must take me! Will you do that?”
Anna looked at Heloise and back to her daughter. Her eyes blazed as she spat in Heloise’s direction. “How dare you fill my daughter with your stinking Christian poison! You are a wretch to mislead her, a kosher Jew! How dare you!”
She began to flail about with her cane, the same one she often used to unstop a plugged toilet and never cleaned, but when she couldn’t reach the retreating Heloise, she threw it, striking Heloise in the back.
Feeling as if a log had struck her, Heloise felt faint, and sank to her knees. Esther screamed and she ran to Heloise, and threw her arms protectively around her. She turned back to her mother, "Leave her alone! I made up my own mind about it! You are ignorant. It is you who do not know what this thing is! I tell you it is very, very evil!”
The next day, she asked Heloise to sit down before she started her chores.
“Tell me about this mark they want to put in my good Jew flesh!” she said to Heloise.
Esther, meanwhile, had put a cold pack on her back, and in the morning there was a huge black and purple bruise. She was furious, then thought about it, and decided there was nothing she could do. She knew she had to forgive, or she couldn’t live with such a monster in female flesh.
Forcing herself to return to Anna, Heloise couldn’t believe her ears at first. It was the old rascal’s closest approach to an apology for her attack the day before.
Trembling as she read it to Anna, the scripture rang in the air, and seemed to sink deeply into the old woman, who sat wordlessly, rolling her big, ugly, misshapen head from side to side.
“Poor little Esther is right,” she finally said. She looked up at Heloise, with a different light in her eyes. “You—you did the right thing, to warn us. Too bad my son-in-law wouldn’t listen, but he always was a—a schmuck!“ using a barnyard yiddish term for the male member.
Esther’s husband stormed in to deal with Anna, when he heard she was not going to the implant center after all.
Anna gripped her cane as if she might break it over his head if she weren’t especially careful. “We are not going in, son-in-law! They’ll have to kill me, a poor old woman and widow, a victim of the Nazi Goyim, with my Esther and the children—but we are not going in!”
Shimon was livid as he stared at the determined woman who was just as strong in character and will as he was, if not stronger since she had come out of the hell of a concentration camp, and he had never been in anything close to one.
Esther came in, and she stood there in the door, watching the two fight it out for her for the destinies of her children. “Then maybe they will have to intern you along with the Christians, the Hasidim extremists, and the other crazy people,” Shimon said quietly after a bitter glance at his wife. Then he turned and left, passing his wife without a word.
A few days later Esther and the children moved to her mother’s quarters.
Not a word was said about it. And her husband stayed away, for everyone knew Anna was fully prepared to do him violence if he ever once, unasked, showed his face in her presence again.
She reached the Wall precinct, but within blocks of it the police had set up roadblocks and cordons of electric wire powered by mobile generators. Tanks were even positioned, with guard posts. But they could deal with anyone, apparently, but the ultra-orthodox Hasidim.
Regardless of MJ’s condemnation, they intended to go about their prayer at the Wall as usual. They would, everybody knew, die for the right. Not ready for a bloodbath of their own brethren, the Jewish soldiers let the Hasidim through the barricades when it looked like there would be bloodshed if they delayed them any further.
Seeing a group of a hundred or more Hasidim push through the Israeli police and government troops stationed in riot gear, with tear gas cannisters ready to be fired, Heloise saw her chance. She went to the nearest clothing store, and bought all black clothes, and a black scarf.
Dressed in black, she went back and when the Hasidim had gathered enough numbers to push through the Israeli guards once again, she dashed into their midst. In the pushing and shouting mass of bodies, she almost vanished and after a few minutes she found herself inside the cordon, her breath knocked out of her and her knees banged from falling a couple times, but alive and free to go to the Wall.
The Hasidim, of course, hated the Two Witnesses even more than the Israeli soldiers and police, but they could do nothing against them but stand at a distance, spitting and shaking their fists.
Many of them hurled rocks, but the rocks went wild, flying backwards right into their midst!
The Israelis were taping the Witnesses, and at one point soldiers, along with detachments of MJ’s storm troopers, the elite “Z-Troopers,” also called “Omega-men,” were sent in to arrest them, but they too were hurled back, just as with the Hasidim’s spit and stones. No one could touch the two prophets of God.
What struck her immediately was that they did not call themselves “The Two Witnesses,” or refer to themselves prophetically from Revelation as the “Two Olive Trees” or the “Two Lampstands.” They said only that they were “Bearers of the Books.”
One third of the forests will be consumed! Many people and animals will perish! The beast who rules the world will not be able to stop the word of judgment! Glory be to the Name of Y’Shua, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Unless the people repent, the judgment will take place in three days!”
At one point in his discourse, he raised his finger skyward and pointed.
But he wasn't through. He projected yet another "sign."
And just as clear, the whole system of Heavenly Signs had been distorted and twisted long before the Greeks and Romans by ancient Mesopotamian astrology, mainly for greed and money and power, the same things that fueled the engine of witchcraft in her own times, with non-partisan witches like Jean Dixon plying their trade even in the White House from one administration to the next!
"None of them fit the bill," Heloise thought. "Though their followers claimed quasi-divinity or at least Great Teacher enlightenment for them, none exhibited two natures, they were nothing but human in nature, which was proven by the fact they all died and did not rise again from the grave as Christ did!
She looked around at the Hasidim. What on earth were they thinking? Did they get the point? Their jaws were hanging open, she noted. Their eyes had turned bloodshot and were literally bulging. Some looked like they were pulling their sidelocks out by the roots! God's Son a horse and man joined together? It must have seemed the rankest blasphemy to their eyes and ears. Yet, she thought, the truth of the two natures combined in one man--divine and human at the same time--might be penetrating some of them present in the crowd, though she could only guess at that. Terrible to their eyes, beautiful to hers--the Horse-Man, Yeshua, could identify with all her human frailties and faults though he was God, and therefore, without sin. What an Advocate He could make, knowing exactly what it was like to be human! How sad, she thought, if they missed the whole meaning of this sign.
And what was her reward generally for all the good she did? World-wide persecution! Criticism! Reproach! Even imprisonment and death. But what about Christians making martyrs of other faiths? What of the Crusades? The Inquisition? The Salem witchhunts? The religious wars of Protestants and Catholics in the 16th and 17th centuries? The numbers involved (Moslems, Jews, and infidels, killed by nominal, so-called Christians taking up the sword for a Christ who categorically rejected the sword even in His own defense, amounted to a few drops in the bucket, she knew, despite the critics of Christianity always harping on those sorry chapters of the Church.
In the science-based, relatively-enlightened 20th century, almost forty-six million Christians were martyred--making it the bloodiest century for Christians ever. The World Encyclopedia she had kept in her office headquarters estimated a total of 69,420,000 martyred Christians since A.D. 33, the year of Christ's crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.
Did anybody care? Nobody in the media ever quoted such figures when referring to the Holocaust or any ethnic massacre--probably because they wanted the truth buried in a dusty, undread encyclopedia!
She couldn’t bear to keep the terrible news to herself. She went and told Esther. Esther believed it, which astonished Heloise.
“I will go and tell my cousin, who works at the office for Israeli Primetime News for CNNC.”
She hurried away.
Two hours later she came back, and sank onto a chair.
“They decided to report the prophecy, so our people will be prepared, those who live in the U.S. and Russia.”
Heloise could hardly believe it. How the Jews stuck together, even with all their differences! What was happening to world-wide Jewry? Were they drawing closer together, spiritually, and instinctively? Or had they always been this way?
“We have had to fight for each other, all down through history,” Anna went on. “We cannot let one brother or sister of our race be hurt, or it will not stop, and we all will go. That is why they reported the prophecy, even if the Hasidim hate the words of these prophets. We must tell our brethren.”
Days later Heloise was still scrubbing and cleaning up. She was bent over at the oven, trying to chip the last of the burnt casserole from the ceramic lining when she felt a terrific blow on her backside. She tumbled out on the floor, and found Anna laughing and shaking a broomstick in her face.
“Ha, you don’t like that across your—-(she used a yiddish term from the ghetto’s criminal element for a woman’s privates)! But this way you American goya get idea what we good Jewish girls at the camp had to take from the guards, day in, day out! And they did worse things than that! Ja, many worse things! Lemme tell you what they did!” At oonce the old woman proceeded to show Heloise exactly what had happened to her.
She had warned the old woman, but it had done nothing to stop the abuse. Heloise could not think what to do! Rather than hear what “worse things” the obscene, old Anna could inflict on her ears and nerves, she stormed out of the apartment. This latest outrage of Anna’s was the nadir, as far as she was concerned. She was determined to let the Shin Bet do their worst—-she would never, never return to submit to further such atrocities!
It was not in good shape, even with persecution which was supposed to purify the believers in Christ. The Gentile Church, as Heloise herself had taught millions in her ministry, was characterized best by the Laodicean church portrayed in Revelation.
Wealthy and materialistic, the people of the church cared more for this life than the one to come. Worse, they were pathetically tepid, lukewarm in their faith and love, and Christ, in Revelation, warned that he would “spew them out of his mouth” and take away their Lampstand, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, if they did not repent. These were people “of God” but never really “in God,” to whom the great hymns of the Church of the Ages did not apply. If they applied, it was in this way: “Just As I Am, Without One Plea” for the Laodiceans’ more upbeat version, “Just As I Am, With Many Excuses.” Or “What A Friend We Have in Jesus,” watered down to “What An Acquaintance We Have in Jesus.” Again, “I Surrender Something,” for “I Surrender All.”
These were pallid copies of the real thing, half-alive Christians fit only for good, undemanding times. They were absolutely not the sort you wanted to man the walls when Christ-hating barbarians were besieging the City of God, such as happened when the real-life Vandals attacked St. Augustine’s own home town of Hippo in North Africa, back in the 5th Century of the Christian Era.
It did not bother her that her own portion of the revival was a ministry that featured world-class headquarters buildings and a stock portfolio that ranged in the hundreds of millions. She told everyone, and especially the carping liberals of the world press, that she was merely being blessed by God, and all she wanted was to be a good steward of those “blessings.”
She herself, she had claimed with a straight face, preferred a simple, unostentatious lifestyle. Except for the needs of the ministry, she informed them that she would rather ride economy class and get rid of the jet and fleet of limousines and the various homes she had scattered about the country.
Naturally they hadn’t believed a word of it, and she had charged them with extreme cynicism and anti-Christian bias.
Having viewed scams by the dozen, they spotted her for what she was—-but she, and her millions of followers, could not see the plain truth.
She had been the blind leading the blind--the "visually-challenged" leading the "optically-impaired"!
Her family had tried to tell her the truth, but she wouldn’t listen! And they—her daughters particularly--had turned against God while rejecting her ministry.
It served her right, she thought many times, as she mopped the floor, or cleaned the plumbing at Anna Rabinowitz’s quarters.
Yet it was a comfort to recall that the Lord hadn’t totally rejected her, despite her ungodliness. He had sent His angels to protect and guide her, hadn’t He? And He had, moreover, promised to use her for His glory in a special way.
But what did it mean? She had no idea, despite all her Bible training, what it meant for her to concoct and bear the holy anointing oil. What was she to do with it? Anoint the Anti-Christ’s blasphemous new Temple in Jerusalem?
Surely, the Lord couldn’t intend for her to do that!
The events were so doctored by spin masters that they bore little resemblance to anything biblical and eschatological.
From the spin put on the events, she saw they were being led to think that world government had resulted in the greatest advances the world had ever witnessed.
As she watched the programs she had to constantly be on guard, watching her thoughts and feelings closely, since the messages were so subtly engineered and superbly designed to produce certain effects in the world audience. Fundamentalists (or anyone who dared oppose the EU-led world government) were made to seem uncaring, mean-spirited, ugly, and retrogressive.
Everything bright, uplifting, loving, kind, and earth-friendly, was, of course, connected with the world government centered now in Rome.
“Really?” she thought, staring at Anna, whose head had fallen off her own perch, and was down on her chest.
With a chill she watched just what that solution meant, as MJ took the world on a tour of a new facility for “social re-education” that would provide the solution for the fundamentalist threat. Everyone in the camp, and there seemed to be hundreds, possibly thousands, smiled and testified to the high quality of the care and treatment. One woman testified, “I had no idea until now how misguided I was! I have you to thank, our great world leader, for providing this beautiful place where I received the care I needed to be freed of my negative, anti-human, anti-earth views!”
Horrible place! No wonder the Anti-Christ had chosen them! Once brought there, there was no escape. The islands were almost totally isolated and virtually human-free, so there was room to crowd millions together on them, and the outside world wouldn’t be able to hear their screams.
She wondered if they were being exterminated down there, and their bodies cremated or dumped in containers into the icy sea. No one would know unless they were working for MJ’s death squads. As for CNNC and all the rest of the world media, they were only allowed brief visits, and then confined to well-scripted tours that avoided anything remotely unpleasant. She had heard rumors that MJ’s preferred mode of execution was the French guillotine that had figured so prominently in the ill-starred French Revolution. Despite the fact the French botched any form of rational government they ever devised, the guillotine was a masterpiece of cold, calculated efficiency as a killing machine. Razor sharp blades did the cutting, making decapitation a sure thing. It worked superbly every time. Beheaded, no one ever survived the procedure to complain or file a protest. But MJ had updated the mechanism and used a laser device in place of a falling blade.
Anna had put off shopping for several days, since her right leg had “gone bad” again.
The old woman shook her finger at Heloise. “You just want to get away from me and go rut like a slut with some Gentile dog in the gutter! Nu?”
Heloise showed no expression. “You’ll go without anything decent to eat, if I don’t go.”
Anna shook her head from side to side, and smiled sourly. “All right then, go!"
She belched. "Excuse my French," she said. "But you better not be dragging your feet! Be back in an hour, do you hear? If you are not back then, I promise you will bear the consequences!”
Heloise knew it was no idle threat. She took one of the ragged, old scarves Anna had given her and tied it tightly around her face, hiding as much of her face as possible. Another castoff, a ragged coat, finished the job of making her look like a very poor Jew nobody could care less about. She would have to hurry!
His place was completely destroyed. A giant bulldozer had been brought in to finish their work. What had they done with poor Kabir and his family? She wondered. It was a great loss, since Kabir had been her only trustworthy Christian contact in the city, who could always tell her what MJ was up to both in the city and internationally.
One thing she learned was about MJ’s rebuilding of pagan temples. Mr. Hafzalla told her how the world leader was busy restoring the Temple of Diana in Ephesus, Turkey, the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Greece, the Temple of Athena in Athens, and many other major pagan temples and shrines-—all at a feverish pace and at enormous cost.
Was he out to restore ancient paganism? She had asked the shopkeeper. Yes and no, he had replied. All the gilded statues bore MJ’s face, which was so androgynous that it fit both male and female deities! And, he added, MJ had a religion he kept more private, founded on the Jaguar-god cult of the jungles of South America. She had been amazed. It was enough to be a rampant apostate and neo-pagan, but what was this jaguar-god cult?
“The cycle of life and death, ever-circling energy,” he had explained to her. “It’s a native religion that best fits his New Age ecological and philosophical views.”
How could a shopkeeper know about such things? Mr. Hafzalla then told her what she had suspected, that he wasn’t always a shopkeeper. He had been turned out from the Sorbonne for his evangelical Christian views, so he had taken his family onto his yacht and “done aliyah,” emigrating to Israel, to return to the homeland of his ancestors.
When they were safely settled in Jerusalem, they discovered that they had just made it in time to escape MJ’s international freeze on emigration by “undesirable elements” such as Christians.
If they had arrived at Jaffa a few days later they would have been returned to France, to face imprisonment and “re-education.”
Hurrying past the surveillance cameras with face averted and her scarf down over her face, she got clear of the area, and turned toward the second shop that still took gold.
From the outside it looked like a florist shop, with a couple bouquets of faux roses and carnations rather tastelessly displayed amidst MJ peace banners and golden figures of Gaea the Goddess of Earth that closely resembled the Virgin Mary. She found the padlock was gone, and entered.
Run by a Spanish-speaking Sephardic Jew who had never divulged his name openly to her, it stayed open only a couple hours a day, for it wasn’t safe to remain open any longer these days.
The old man was gouging her mercilessly! But with the Hafzallas put out of business permanently, all no doubt shipped to the Falklands “re-education” camps via EU Airbus ramjet, why not take a little advantage of the increased trade?
“I’ll be back to pick them up in less than a hour!” she assured him, and he nodded, saw her out, handed her a small bouquet of drooping carnations, and locked the door.
“He must pay some pretty stiff baksheesh to police and the Shin Bet,” she thought, trying to give him the benefit of a doubt. “But then he has factored them in to his prices, so we, the customers, are paying them with the gold out of our teeth!”