9 The Lion Unleashed

The whole world sighed with vast relief. There was global peace-—well, sort of. Ethnic wars burned out of control in many corners, but people were so jaded by turmoil they expected them by this time.

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).

Who could have done it? Nobody claimed responsibility. Even if they did, it could not be made known, for there was a blackout, due to the hackers destroying the communications systems as well. Chaos reigned all over the earth, most of all the in the high-techology areas.

Heloise grew aware of the world’s disaster and the utter collapse of global civilization when she went to work one morning. Anna’s television, which blasted away for hours each day, was dead. Anna was furious. The electric power also cut off. And when Heloise tried to get a breakfast started, she found that all the appliances having any sort of complex workings failed to work.

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.

Then Anna’s daughter came by, her face worried.

“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?

Nothing changed for them after hours had passed. The world, seemingly, had come to a dead stop. It reminded Heloise of the same shock and stoppages that had swept America after the savage and lightning-like terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the capital on September 11, 2001. Starting with America, the world had never been the same after that, with a war by the U.S. and its allies declared on international networks of terrorism that never officially ended. Now the disaster, of course, was universal, affecting everybody simultaneously. Martial Law was imposed somehow without any motorized vehicles or electronic communications operating, for soldiers appeared, patrolling the streets on foot or on bicycles, and ordering the people to return to their home. But the people seemed not to care or listen, and continued to stand in the streets until long into the night, looking up and asking one another continually what was happening.

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.

“The first seal must have been broken!” she thought, sweat coming out on her forehead. “The rider mounted on the White Horse, an angel of judgment or even Christos Pantockrator himself, is racing across the world, bringing war and invasion.”

But what is the war, and who is invading? Clearly, the global economy lay in ruins. Nothing was working! People couldn’t work. Essential services were not even available. Who knows how many people were dying, or had died, since the stoppages began?

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.

She was surprised when the television flickered back to life, showing the emergency channel was working when all else remained dead.

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.

She smiled graciously into the camera and then turned to introduce the world premier.

"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.”

The camera then moved to carefully-groomed, seemingly ageless face of the world premier, and seldom showed his body, as his enlarged face alone filled the screens of the world and demanded its full attention.

“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-—“

And, then, to her horror, he listed them in a throaty, sensual voice that, for special emphasis, could rise suddently to a high-pitched shriek: “Ultra-orthodox Hasidim Jews, Fundamentalist “born-again” Christians, and orthodox Jews seeking to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple on their own terms, exclusive of the Universal Peace Treaty will be held fully responsible and treated accordingly. These are the cyber-criminals and terrorists of which we all, as good, peace-loving people, must beware!”

Shocked to hear MJ declare hot, unrestricted war on the Hasidim, Christians, and certain small radical Temple-fixated groups like Ezekiel’s operating more or less against the world government’s plan for Israel, Heloise got little more from the program while Anna watched him being given awards for this achievement from the highest functionaries of the world government.

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.

Anna was impatient, however. She seemed to grasp nothing about the extent of the disaster and was little impressed with glitter and gaudy displays that she suspected she was paying for without her permission being asked. It wasn’t real, in her opinion. And she didn’t like MJ’s meddling in Jewish affairs, and liked his arrogant, feminine looks even less.

“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?

Strangely enough, World Premier MJ said almost nothing about how the best security systems of the world government could be so weak that they were made to collapse. He merely promised that all efforts would be made to apprehend and punish “cyber-criminals” and things would be restored to normal in a matter of hours..

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.

Frantic, badly frightened people rushed to have the chip implanted at the various centers that sprang up, as if magically, all over Jerusalem and the nation.

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.

Anna stayed home for health reasons. She couldn’t walk more than a few steps at a time. They would have to come and get her, she decided. She wasn’t walking anywhere for such a silly, useless thing!

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.

“What do you think of it?” Esther said to Heloise. “My husband says he must do it, since he can’t go back to work without one.”

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.

When Heloise finished, Esther rose from her chair, and shook her head. “If your Christian prophet is right, then we will be doomed by this mark! My children—“

“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.”

Esther went out, still shaking her head, to try to speak to her husband while Heloise stayed with Anna, who sat with mouth agape, sleeping while the first news channel to return to broadcasting ignored the Two Witnesses prophesying at the Wall to the world and focused on a protest march in Brussels by England’s Flat Earth Society, which rejected not only the world government based on a circular earth but all global communications systems (and whatever was transmitted over them, such as the world government’s decrees) based on satellites. Of course, they depended upon the very system of communications to get their message out, but somehow they didn't see the contradiction--claiming a flat earth required no global system of communication satellites as telegraph or telephone or even television would do well enough to connect world society.

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.

Shimon, Esther’s husband, stormed out from the apartment to get it done anyway. Later, Heloise saw Esther, with swollen lids and red-eyed from weeping.

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?”

Esther backed away from Anna with horror in her eyes. “You don’t see it, do you, mother? They are the very same sort that tortured you long ago-—they are just a new kind of Nazis, only more cruel and cunning-—and they rule from Rome, not Berlin!”

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!”

Anna seemed to be taken aback. Her mouth dropped open to witness her daughter’s rebuke.

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.

But Anna wanted to know, and she insisted again. Heloise, getting her Bible, read to her the portion dealing with the Mark of the Beast.

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.

“What is the meaning of this? Are you crazy, Old Woman? You’ve gone too far this time!”

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.

“Don’t you dare come back here again, you Nazi lover!” Anna said, as a parting shot. She turned to the others. “I still have strength to break him, or any man, in pieces small enough to flush him down the toilet!”

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.

Because Turner's CNNC and Israeli news would not report them, Heloise went to the Wall to hear the Two Prophets, risking arrest in the street as a proscribed Christian.

All of Jewdom was laughing at their prophesies, she knew. But she thought how someday soon they wouldn’t be able to laugh forever. The prophecies would all came true, then they would weep at their terrible, undeniable mistake.

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!

Ignoring the thrown rocks of the Hasidim just as they ignored the periodic uzi salvoes of the Israelis, the Two Witnesses prophesied. Heloise, who found she could approach closer than the Hasidim, who seemed to be held back fifty feet by an invisible wall.

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 was causing so much offense? Heloise wondered. She edged closer, finding herself alone, with no one else able to approach within fifty feet. Finally, she was standing close enough to see them, and they caught her eye and began speaking personally to her!

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.”

But what “Books”? But they wouldn’t say. They had no books with them, and asked for none. Instead they spoke forth as if they were the books themselves in the flesh!

“Daughter of Zion, the Bearers of the Books tell you these things. Tell the people we have called down drought and fire in the northern United States and Canada, and in Siberia and Russia, as well as in subtropical South America and Asia.

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!”

It was the younger-looking, fancy-robed and turbaned Witness that spoke first, whom she tried to place in Biblical chronology. It was like Job speaking, he knew Eloihim obviously, but did not refer to any Biblical book as he spoke. From what book, then, was he speaking if not from a knowledge of the written Word of God that predated the Bible?

At one point in his discourse, he raised his finger skyward and pointed.

“Look to Taleh the Ram, who died for the sake of his people, the children of light!”

All of a sudden, the sky darkened. Stars shone brightly, and the Constellation appeared in all its glory. But not for long. Army spotlights on generators turned on that area full throttle and shone so strong the Sign was drowned in light. As if he had anticipated this, the Wailing Witness smiled. Instantly, the same constellation appeared on the giant Herodian temple stones, toward which the prophet had turned that strange, large blue stone hanging from his neck. The array of spotlights? Their generators died the moment they switched over to the Wall, and soon loud cursing in Hebrew came from the engineers and other technicians clustered around them.

The Witness's voice, however, drowned them all out as if he were being amplified by huge speakers all over the area. Addressing the crowd and the world watching him via satellite, the Witness used a Hebrew name for Aries, in the Constellation of that name! What was he? An ancient astrologer? She herself had taught thousands of people in her seminars that the Two Witnesses in the Tribution Period would be Moses and Elijah, but this man seemed somehow more ancient than Moses, even if he appeared the younger of the pair. Who then could he be?

The man turned back to the crowd as the Sign faded from the wall and the sky lightened back to daylight. He pointed at them.

“You have foolishly made the Sign in the heaven, Taleh’s own, a god, whoring after it to satisfy your own lusts! How you err and dig a pit to throw yourselves into! Taleh is the holy son of the Most High, and he has given his life for your saving! He is not a son of witches and sorcerers, or even a panther, as you and your rabbis have said and written, blaspheming the holy Ram of God! Instead of the true and holy Son of the Most High God, you worship and serve the devouring panther, you fall down before the lion of this world. The beast is your god, and you are his slaves to the death!”

The self-introduced "Bearer of the Books" then turned back to the wall, and the sky darkened instantly as before, as his blue stone ornament glowed and projected from his raised hand a number of images in succession. Heloise recognized the figure as that of Perseus who slew the Medusa, cutting off her snaky head, in the ancient Greek account.

"The Hero of the Most High will cut off the head of the Woman, the harlot whom many of you lie with, commiting fornication and witchcraft with her!" the projectionist-prophet proclaimed.

His words stunned her. Of course! The Greeks had poeticized the account, which was more ancient than their own culture, and distorted the meaning. It was really Yeshua, the Son of God, who was figured in the Perseus stars! But who was this strangely dressed projectionist? Elijah, Moses, or Enoch? Who but they could call Divine Power to darken the sky and the sun to make a point? Of the three most commonly accepted OT prophets, it most likely was Enoch, she decided! He was the Bearer of the Book of the Heavenly Signs!

But he wasn't through. He projected yet another "sign."

Before the projectionist could identify him, she realized the image was Ophiuchus in the Greek acoounts. What name would the projectionist give him?

The glorious Son of the Most High has slain the great serpent, wounding his head most grievously, and there is no healing for the wound, for though he twists his coils mightily upon the earth it is a wound unto death..."

Heloise listened with the crowd to the man as he explained the sign in detail. He had evidently read the various Jewish commentaries on the Torah, the vast accumulation of opinions and interpretations that, for the orthodox Jew, carried much the same weight as the Torah. His explanations of the true meaning of the signs, long lost to humanity, was now being given them, to restore knowledge of it to earth, though it was being given in judgment upon witchcraft and fortune-telling, the lucrative psychic arts industry! But how did he know such things? Was the Zodiac that ancient, that it predated the time of the oldest book of the Bible which was Job? Apparently!

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!

Her mind whirled as yet more signs appeared on the Wall.

Hercules, or Herakles as the Greeks called him--he too was proclaimed by the projector to be the "Son of the Most High"--Yeshua, by name.

And what was the point of all this--Yeshua was God's all-conquering Champion, who had come, departed to heaven for a time, and was coming again to cast down Evil and rule the world with perfect justice and a 'rod of iron'? So much for the namby-pamby, Jesus-meek-and-mild milksop of most Sunday School books! The audio-visual Bearer of the Books had just blown that ridiculous image to smithereens!

The projectionist next showed a strange image--a centaur no less! She had always thought this was a pure Greek invention, a product of agile imaginations--but, no, the projectionist's voice shook with grave reverence as he proclaimed the "Divine Horse-Man, the Son of the Most High already come to earth as a God-Man".

Combining two natures, God's and man's, of course that was Jesus Christ!" Who else could play the part? Who else had two distinct natures? Buddha? Mohammed? Zarathustra? Lao Tso? Ayn Rand? Ophrah? Roseanne? Dr. Moon?

"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.

The sky lightened, turned colors, as if to signal a shift in program or a kind of divine transition. When the sky darkened again, the next image to appear on the Wall was the Sign of the Two Fishes. "Evidently," Heloise thought, "the works of the first part of his zoadiacal presentation are finished. The Champion, Yeshua, completed his mission on the Cross for mankind, defeating the Serpent, the Devil, and now we enter a New Age of divine destiny for humanity. What will he say now that won't prove an anti-climax?"

"You are children of the First Fish," the Witness informed the crowd. "You seek to obey the laws of the first, but you have broken them all, if not in deed, then in your hearts. But the Most High has given you a Second Fish, whose laws you can obey, for they will be written on your hearts and not on tablets of stone--from least to great, you will not have need for anyone to teach you, for you will know the Most High yourself!"

The speaker paused, casting them all a penetrating look.

"Do you digest the meat and bread of my words? The prophet that you sawed in twain prophesied of the Two Fishes, and the coming of the Second Fish. He spoke of these things, but did you hearken to him? No! You slew him down in Egypt where you fled to escape your enemies--enemies that the Most High sent upon you as righteous punishment for your fathers' sin and rebellion against Him! But now, Everlasting Peace and the Prince of Peace has come. Peace is waiting for you, to reconcile you to the Most High God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, if only you will repent and call on His beloved Son's saving Name..."

To Heloise's ears, it sounded like the old-fashioned gospel, pure and simple, being preached by a street-corner evangelist from some downtown storefront church or mission. But to the Hasidim? To them, she thought, it must have sounded like a devil's rantings--if they were still rejecting Jeremiah's prophesies predicting the New Covenant, just as their forefathers had.

The next Sign appeared as soon as the Two Fishes faded. At first she thought they had nothing in common, and then, a moment later, she saw the connection.

"The woman chained to a rock in the sea, attacked by a sea monster--the beautiful Andromeda in the Greek accounts whom Perseus rescued, that could only be the holy Church of the Gentile Age!"

Attacked and almost overcome at times by her enemies, the woman yet persevered and survived against all odds. For, confirming her interpretation, the Witness said as much to the Hasidim, though in language and images they might understand and even accept, whereas they would probably reject her explanation because of its heavy freight of evangelical Gentile terms nd overtones.

"The holy flock of the pilgrimage of Law-giver and Shepherd, the one called Moses who led the people of Israel in the wilderness," the Witness cried out, "--he it is that gave his flock, My People, to the world, to bless the nations. But the nations turned upon the holy people, chaining them, enslaving, attacking them, as the sea rages against the rocks in the sea. Yet the Most High has preserved the life of his beloved cast and chained upon the rock, for the Rock is her refuge--the Holy One of Israel is her sure refuge and defense!"

Heloise's ears warmed. Wasn't "Rock" and the Witness's play upon that word hitting home with the Hasidim, who were always called God their "Rock." Even the secular state of Israel had declared, in its founding document in 1948, that she was founded upon the Rock--which all Jews understood to be God, the God of Israel, though "Rock" was chosen to mislead the atheistic, communist Russians who might not have recognized Israel's declaration of nationhood if they had named God instead as the foundation of their country. What a clever use of a word! Everyone was satisfied by "Rock," the religious and atheist alike. Yet God took it seriously that He was named, she knew. He was even now affirming the name given him.

"From the Rock, she will be lifted on high!" the Witness continued. "She will be a glorious bride for the Bridegroom, and reign with Him!"

"Oh, return to the Rock of your fathers!" the Witness shouted with unmistakable yearning in his voice. "Return to Him, fellowship with Him, and He will pour out rivers of blessing to you and your children! One hears his voice like a babbling brook heard afar."

What did the Sign mean, following the sequential signs of the Two Fishes and the Woman Chained? Could the star-man be, she wondered, the Aquarius of the feather-decked, beaded, shoeless, LSD-doped-up generation of the 1960s Flower Children led by that old Latter Day Pied Piper, Timothy O'Leary? Even if their anthem, "The Age of Aquarius," was rather nicely done, disguising the fact they hated the Church Age, the Age of Pices, the Two Fishes, nice lyrics could not cover the fact they had twisted the sign to support their own deceptions and hedonistic lifestyle. What a gross misrepresentation they had given this beautiful Christian Sign! Here the Church was figured, pouring out blessing upon all the nations of the earth, received with gratitude or not.

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!

Heloise could not bear anything more, in fact, even though it was coming apparently from great Enoch, "the Seventh from Adam," the man the Bible said "who walked with God" and whom God "took alive" into heaven at the "relatively young" antediluvian age of three and a half centuries. As for his looking so young compared to his companion, the beak-nosed Elijah? Elijah had had Jezebel to contend with. That would age any prophet considerably in looks!

She wrote down the initial prophecy and a list of the Signs for further checking with the Bible and then fled from the cinema of the two Bearers of the Books, and found it was easy to leave, since the soldiers were more than happy to escort people away from the shocking sound-and-light show on the Wall--an event that closed with a last Sign, the Shepherd-King.

At home she sat stunned for several hours in her apartment. What should she do?

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?

He asked Esther about it. But Anna, who wasn’t sleeping as she was pretending to sleep, answered for her daughter, “Ha! You Americans, you stupid, fat goyim, know nothing about us Jews! We are one people no matter what we say to each other in the face! Nobody can put a goat’s schmuck between us and live! You try that, and we split your head open! And let the United Nations, that house of lies and monkey dung, try to put us down! Someday we will make something delicious to eat from their ashes, just as we make hamantaschen to eat at Passover, and now we eat shickelgrubertaschen!”

Esther grimaced, but she did not disagree. She could not understand yet how the older generation, those who had personally experienced the Shoah, the "Holocaust," relished the shickelgrubertaschen! It seemed too fresh an experience to her mind to want to make sweetmeats out of Shickelgruber and the utterly monstrous things he did to the Jews. She could understand the hamantaschen. Haman, the ancient foe of the Jews, who in the time of Esther and Mordecai in the days of the Persian Empire, had conspired to kill off all the people of God and ended up hung on his own gallows-—he had been commenorated, she knew, by certain very tasty cakes that all Passover-observing Jews had eaten century after century, for over two thousand five hundred years! But the Nazi dictator who had conspired to kill off all the Jews in his gas chambers? In memory of him and his downfall, the Jews now ate almond cakes that were laced with apricots and cream!

“Your stomach is stronger than mine,” Esther sighed, shaking her head as she gazed at her old mother who had consumed, in earlier days, boiled rats, who wasn’t listening anyway.

“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.”

Despite the drawing together, philosophically at least, of Jew and Christian, the Levi mother, grand-mother and children with Heloise, the union did not set particularly easy with Anna. And she took out her rancor on Heloise. Anna had nearly destroyed the apartment by stuffing a huge concoction of odds and ends in a casserole dish, only to leave it on 450 degrees and forget it for eight hours. When Heloise came in to do her morning work, the apartment was black with the smoke, and she rushed into the kitchen, and made it worse by opening the oven. Anna, fortunately, had her bedroom door shut, and wasn’t suffocated. Esther and the children, too, were spared by a securely shut door. But the rest of the apartment was a disaster.

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.

Heloise backed away, disguested and enraged.

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!

Later, hours later, she returned to finish the cleaning. What could she do—-change Anna? Sooner see the sky rain the three flavors of Neapolitan ice cream along with chocolate fudge cookies, or the sea turn to her mother’s favorite jam, pineapple marmalade! Only God! Only God could change the old woman and her maddening, obscene, warped and twisted ways.

But she had time, working for Anna, to do her own thinking—-that was one benefit to compensate her for the horribly low pay. She thought a long time about the state of Christianity under the likes of Michael Jayson and his anti-Christian, totalitarian world government.

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.

She herself had led, she thought, the Great Revival of the beginning of the 21st Century. This revival was a repentant Laodicean church turning back to God with tears, renewed love, and self-sacrifice-—in other words, with a whole heart and total sincerity.

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.

Now that she truly lived a simple and unostentatious lifestyle, she could see the incredible lie of her former life. She had been so far out of touch with reality that she hadn’t guessed how ludicrous her statements had appeared to news commentators and media moguls alike.

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.

Well, Christ had come as He had long promised, and taken his prepared, loving, holy Bride of righteous followers up into the heavens! She, the arch-Laodicean, had been left behind, with all the rest of the apostate, false “Christian” church!

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!

Her clothes, jewelry, jet, headquarters building, various ranches and estates (one ranch adjoined the Turners' in Montana and another abutted theirs as well in Patagonia, Argentina!), ministry, reputation, wealth, and power had all been stripped away. Even her family had rejected her and thrown her short-comings in her face. She had Anna, and a precarious, squalid little room at the back of Anna’s apartment. That was all-—unless she counted the promise of the Lord to use her in a new way.

During the long hours of her housework, which was largely routine, she had plenty time to think. She wondered about Ezekiel, and how he was getting along with his underground movement to restore the “true Temple,” in opposition to the Anti-Christ, and his Moslem and Jewish allies. What a handsome anachronism he was as a Jew, even if he chose to be a fake Ezekiel!

She was ashamed, thinking how shocked he would be to see her working as Anna’s house slave and looking as drab as she now did, wearing no jewelery and no designer clothes, and, of course, no makeup. At one time she had worn a new dress or suit every time she faced the public and the camera, which meant sometimes five or ten times she had to change clothes each day! Now the same old sack and head scarf served her two or three weeks without a change!

But there were a few advantages—-though, admittedly, precious few.

Anna was so old, she slept a lot of the day, taking nap after nap. Heloise found she could take breaks during the naps, and turn on the television and follow world news, without Anna’s knowing. Anna would sleep, her head back on a fold of fat for a pillow, her mouth wide open and snoring loudly. She was so deaf that Heloise could turn up the television as loud as she wanted, and Anna would not be bothered. Completely cut off otherwise, the television was Heloise’s remaining link to the world.

For over twenty years she had taught the End-Time Events as a series on TV and in conferences and on tours more times than she could remember. The Seven Soundings of the Trumpets, the Seven Seals, and all the judgments they signified, had proven to be the bread and butter of her prophetic ministry. People could not get enough of her prophecy tapes, videos, teachings, books, and seminars—all at a hefty price. Though she could still recite the judgments of the Seals and the Trumpets in her sleep, she found it was almost impossible to connect them with what she saw in the news reports on TV.

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.

It was hit her with a jarring note when the “world premier” announced that the solution for the fundamentalist extremists and terrorists had been found, and was being fully implemented.

“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!”

Anna awoke suddenly, demanding a cup of tea, and Heloise switched off the program and restored the Jewish soap opera Anna loved. But as she went to make the tea, she couldn’t put out of her mind the concentration camp, situated somewhere in the Falkland and South Georgia island chain. She knew these sub-arctic islands from one, brief visit. They were mostly glaciered mountains, cut by deep fjords full of pack-ice most of the year.

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.

She decided that she couldn’t rely on world government-doctored news but would have to find out herself what was actually going on. But how? She went to the newsstands for a look at international papers, and found them all repeating the same accounts, almost word for word. She knew she would have to go to underground sources like Ezekiel, or the Two Witnesses still holding forth at the Wall.

“I’ve got to get those groceries now, or we’ll run out!” Heloise insisted. “There’s not telling what the shortages will be, or how long they will last.”

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!

First she had to find the few, remaining shops that still sold black market vegetables and more or less kosher meat for gold currency or gold jewelry, then run down to the Wall to see what was going on, and return at a trot to the shop to pick up her groceries and race back to Anna’s.

The first shop was closed, as she had feared. It was the better shop, with more choices. She found that the Omega-men had been there—the special forces of the world government—as they had done a complete job on Kabir Hafzalla the “renegade” Arab Christian greengrocer.

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.”

But it wasn’t wise to hang about the vicinity, since electronic eyes were everywhere, she knew.

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 proprietor eyed her, then she gave him the money first, and he weighed the coins and jewelry, and wrote a number on a paper and handed it to her with a meaty hand flashing with what looked to be all diamond rings. The number was even smaller than the time before, she saw.

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?

She rounded up the very expensive but rather tired New Zealand (New Zealand was still growing sufficient staples to be able to ship out the surplus) cabbages, carrots, onions, and the rest of Anna’s list, including some drugs, and personal items, and turned back to the owner. He tallied up her takings, and then handed her another slip of paper, with the amount he was to retain on credit, since he did not give back anything over in cash.

“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 watches for customers and unlocks the door for each of them," she thought as she flung the carnations in the gutter. But his caution was for her own safety too. At least he wasn’t careless, and wouldn’t be unprepared when the Omega-Men, or the Israeli secret police, came on a raid. She wondered how he had been able to keep going so long.

“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!”

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