34. Bonus: Volume 7 (L.B. Indwelling) spoilers

Reader’s discretion is advised.

(Added May 2016)

Spoiler: Why are we covering Left Behind #7: The Indwelling: The Beast Takes Possession out of order?

Answer: During Lent of 2016 and particularly during Easter week of 2016, your host frequently found oneself thinking about this book. Repeatedly, persistently, often, and a lot. We do not know if someone needs to read these spoilers and discussion, only that someone needed to write it.

Spoiler: What would your host like readers to know about this novel?

Answer: Volume 7 was released on March 30, 2000, before a day that changed the world. As always, words or phrases in quotation marks are quotes from the novel.

Spoiler: What else would your host like readers to know about this novel?

Answer: The enemy performs a particular sign and wonder in imitation and mockery of Christ. This could upset the faith of some. Before reading, the Gentle Browser should prayerfully consider whether one is ready or not yet ready for this advanced material.

Spoiler: What else would your host like readers to know about this novel?

Answer: Certain characters in the novel exhibit irrational behavior. If you or someone you know is having such intrusive thoughts and feelings, your host would urge the Gentle Browser to contact 911 or other first-responder, or a suicide prevention hotline. We are not alone; we live in God’s world. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ saith the LORD, ‘plans to help you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future’” (Jer. 29:11). Help is available. You are not alone.

For the reasons listed above, Reader discretion is advised.

This concludes our introductory comments.

Spoilers

Spoiler: As the novel opens in Jerusalem, what is in the prologue from Volume 6, Assassins?

Answer: It is Friday, the moment of Nicolae Jetty Antichrist Carpathia’s assassination (pp. xi-xiii). Buck Williams ducks at the sound of a gunshot. A few faces show “glee.” Buck surmises they are “converts from the Wailing Wall who had seen Carpathia murder their heroes [Moishe and Eli].” The other two million spectators flee. Buck hides under a scaffold to avoid being trampled. On the stage, Chaim Rosenzweig sits catatonic in his wheelchair. Leon Fortunado cradles the bloody Carpathia, bawling, “Don’t die, Excellency. We need you! The world needs you! I need you!”

Blood runs from the Antichrist’s eyes, nose, mouth, and from the top and back of his skull. To Buck, it is obvious what caused this fatal wound.

Nicolae Jetty Carpathia, aged 36, dies in Leon’s arms. As heard by Buck, the Antichrist’s last words are “a liquid, guttural murmur, “But I thought … I thought … I did everything you asked.”

Leon Fortunado schedules Carpathia’s funeral for the following Sunday. For some reason all of the primary security cameras that should have recorded the assassination have been “blocked.” Two hours before the funeral, Fortunado summons David Hassid—computer technician, hacker, and a mole for the Tribulation Force—to view the recovered footage. It clearly identifies the assassin.

Tsion Ben-Judah, Chloe Steele Williams, and Baby Kenny Williams remain hidden in the safe house in Mount Prospect, Illinois. They watch the news. “You have to assume the resurrection [of the Antichrist] will be caught on television.” Nothing happens.

“The Scripture had not foretold of death by projectile.” Friday becomes Saturday. Carpathia remains dead, laid out in state in New Babylon. “By dawn Sunday, as Tsion gloomily watched mourners pass the glass bier in the sun-drenched courtyard of the GC palace, [Tsion] had begun to doubt himself.” Has Tsion misunderstood the prophecies? Or did the assassin murder the wrong man?

Volume 7 is the story of what the living did during that three-day weekend.

Spoiler: As the novel opens, what are the major characters doing?

Answer: It is still Friday, the moment of Nicolae Jetty Carpathia’s assassination. Leah Rose (alias “Donna Clenendon”) is in Belgium, trying to collect her “niece” Hattie Durham (alias “Mae Willie”) from the BUFFER women’s prison (pp. 1-14). Leah is ejected empty-handed. She calls Rayford and the safe house. There is no answer.

David Hassid knows why the phones are not working. Leon Fortunado orders him to “scramble the satellites to make it impossible for those who did this to communicate with each other by phone” (p. 25-26). It isn’t the correct terminology, but David understands him: everything connected to a satellite is to be cut off. The problem is that the entire planet is served by the same system. “It’s the reason we’ve never been able to shut down the Judah-ites’ internet transmissions.” Even the long-distance landline coverage is sporadic since Carpathia redirected telecom utilities into the Cell-Sol satellite network. (See Volume 4.) Fortunado wants it done anyway. David states that the GC would still have local landlines and television transmission (p. 26). Good enough, Fortunado says.

Later, David talks with his fiancée Annie Christopher about the logistics of transporting dead evil potentates (pp. 29-31). Annie quips, “I’d like to drop the box and run over it with a forklift. Let’s see that come back to life.”

As for Rayford Steele and Cameron “Buck” Williams—who are present at the scene of the assassination—the authors wait until the characters have had a running head start before the narrative pursues them. Rayford in disguise is trying to run in turban and robes, like a woman running in a long skirt (p. 20-21). “If he had killed the potentate, there was certainly no satisfaction in it, no relief or sense of accomplishment … Rayford felt he was running from a prison of his own making” (p. 20).

Rayford, passing himself as Marvin Berry of Kalamazoo, Michigan, talks his way past Tel Aviv airport security and helps himself to a Gulfstream. When security receives orders to initiate code red screening, Rayford takes off anyway. At that moment, airport communications turn to static. Rayford is relieved. Now there will be no organized pursuit. “If he was flying blind, so would the GC” (pp. 31-37). He flies by night to Greece (p. 47).

Back at the assassination, Buck races toward the stage. Dr. Chaim Rosenzweig is on the stage, and the scaffolding is collapsing (pp. 14-19). Neither Buck nor Chaim’s aide Jacov can help. “Chaim sat motionless … if he had not been shot, Buck wondered if he’d had another stroke, or worse, a heart attack” (p. 17).

In the pandemonium, Buck loses sight of Chaim. He finds only the broken wheelchair. Rayford is not answering his phone (p. 37). “Buck had been angry with his father-in-law before, but never like this …. What was [Buck] supposed to do, collect Leah from Brussels, and it was every man for himself?”

Mac McCullum gets the best view of the gore. As the pilot of Carpathia’s plane—the Condor 216—he watches the man’s death throes, which leave the EMTs “kneeling in more blood than it seemed a body could hold.” One declares, “No vitals. He’s flat lined.” Fortunado buries his face in the corpse’s chest and sobs. On the plane, a doctor pronounces the death.

Security Chief Walter Moon instructs all to say nothing to outsiders. Mac and his co-pilot Abdullah “Smith” will fly them home (pp. 21-25).

Spoiler: Who killed Nicolae Jetty Antichrist Carpathia?

Answer: The Global Community blames Rayford. They show his photo on TV as early as Friday afternoon. He should be considered armed and dangerous (p. 76). Buck thinks the GC are grasping at straws (p. 74). Hattie has no doubts. “I know [Rayford] better than that.” She says Rayford would not kill someone in a million years (p. 190).

Mac McCullum says “something stinks” here. “Neon Leon has a bee in his bonnet” about three regional sub-potentates being “disloyal” just because they ran when they heard a gunshot. “The suspected weapon is found with a disgruntled former employee’s [i.e., Rayford’s] prints all over it, and all Leon can talk about is a conspiracy” (p. 92).

Spoiler: How does Chaim’s household staff die?

Answer: Jacov tries to climb onstage to rescue Chaim. A GC Peacekeeper punches Jacov in the head with the butt end of an Uzi. Jacov falls twelve feet down into the panicking crowds and is trampled. Security bags the body. Buck must leave him (pp. 17-19). Buck later tells Chaim that the Uzi broke Jacov’s neck (p. 159).

“The people in Chaim’s house—Stefan the valet, Jacov’s wife Hannelore, and Hannelore’s mother—had to have been watching on TV and were likely calling anyone they knew for news of their loved ones.” Over the phone, Buck can hear Hannelore’s mother screaming. The phone goes dead (pp. 23-24).

Buck arrives at Chaim’s home and finds it deserted and dark (p. 38). The power has been cut. Buck locates Chaim’s rechargeable flashlight in its outlet. When Buck hears drip, drip, he flashes the room briefly. Blood drains from the lifeless bodies of Hannelore and her mother, each bound to a chair and gagged, each shot in the head. Hannelore’s mother was squat and heavy, and her arms had been contorted to allow her wrists to be tied. He gets their blood on him as he verifies that there is no pulse (pp. 38-41). “Who could have done this? And wouldn’t Stefan, his Middle Eastern maleness coming to the fore, have fought to the death to prevent it?” (p. 41).

“What might Rayford have done in this same situation?” Buck thinks he understands Rayford a little better, after “what he had lost. Buck stubbornly left him on the pedestal of his mind as the leader of the Tribulation Force and as one who would act honorably in this situation” (pp. 51-52).

“Feeling ashamed, as if his wife and son could see him feeling his way in the dark, fighting a whimper like a little boy rather than tramping shoulders-wide through the place, Buck stepped on flesh.” He again shines the flashlight. Stefan lies still, his face a mask of tranquility, eyes and mouth closed as if in sleep. “His arms and legs were in place, hands at his sides, but all four limbs had been severed, the legs at the hips, the arms at the shoulders. Clearly this had been done after he was dead, for there was no sign of struggle.” Buck hits his knees. His palms touch down in more thick, sticky blood. Sobbing and gasping, Buck wonders what kind of weapon it would have taken to dismember a dead man. How long did it take? Why did they do it? What was the message in that? he wonders (pp. 52-53). (The text never does say how Stefan died.)

David asks Buck if the news about Chaim is true: that he and his staff died in a house fire (pp. 169-170). No, the believers are dead but none of them died in a fire. The GC must have set the fire after Buck left the house, to cover the murders (p. 184).

Spoiler: Who is Ming Toy? What is Leah Rose’s connection to her?

Answer: Ming Toy, aged 22, is a believer born in China and employed as a supervisor-guard at BUFFER. Leah mistakes her voice for that of a “matronly, older” woman (pp. 6-7). Ming was widowed when the Rapture took the brakeman and controllers on her husband’s commuter train, and it crashed. She then joined the Global Community. When she became a believer, she sought work in GC Security in the hope that she could meet and aid believers (p. 14). She has not been detected yet because BUFFER is understaffed. Also, “a stratospheric IQ doesn’t hurt. That, and wrestling. Two out of three falls … They know Greco-Roman. I know martial arts” (p. 14).

Ming pretends to arrest Leah so that they have a private place to talk (pp. 9-10). To prove herself, she lets Leah lick her thumb and try to scrub off the believer’s Seal on her forehead (p. 11). They pray. Ming tells Leah that Hattie Durham was released “with a tidy settlement for her trouble. Roughly a hundred thousand Nicks in cash” (pp. 11-12). The GC hopes Hattie will be “dumb enough” to lead them to a Judah-ite contact or safe house (pp. 12-13). Ming considers Leah an answer to prayer, because Ming knew of no way to warn the believers. Leah replies, “Thank God for you, Ming.” They exchange phone numbers with an offer for Ming to join a safe house, if and when.

Spoiler: What are Tsion’s prayers and visions?

Answer: When Tsion hears the accusations against Rayford, Tsion feels a great need to pray for him. “It struck him that he spent more time in concerted prayer for Rayford than for any other individual” (p. 76). This feels different. “It seemed he was not in the proper posture to pray, and all he could make of that was that Rayford needed real intercession …. a person thus praying must not enter into [intercession] unless willing to literally trade places with the needy person” (p. 77). Obviously he cannot take Rayford’s place as a murder suspect. But Tsion can affect that posture in his mind; he can express his willingness to God to take that burden, literally possible or not. Soon he is prostrate and startled by a loss of equilibrium. He feels his focus shift from Rayford and his troubles to the majesty of God. Tsion comes to himself when the anxious Chloe finds his face mashed into the carpet (p. 78).

Nothing happens. Tsion frets if he was praying or sleeping (p. 119). He feels led to read Joel 2:28-32 (p. 88). Chloe’s husband and father are in Jerusalem—and in this passage, whomever in Jerusalem who call upon the name of the LORD will be delivered. Tsion says, “I am claiming the promise in this passage,” because God prompted him to find it: their loved ones will return to them safely. In spite of everything? asks Chloe. In spite of everything, says Tsion. Chloe just looks at him: “is there anything in there that says when the phones will start working again?” (p. 101).

After praying for his cyber-congregation (now more than one billion), Tsion is fighting sleep (pp. 231-232). It is 12:57 p.m. on Saturday. Tsion feels a tingle like the one he felt when interceding for Rayford. Suddenly Tsion is looking down upon himself and Baby Kenny, both sleeping. He feels weightless but feels the sensation of his body: the breeze upon the hairs on his arms, the smell of autumn leaves that nobody burned anymore, the sounds of appliances in the safe house and of a baby breathing. He ascends from Earth. He races through the vast universe. “He had never believed heaven was on the same physical plane as the universe, somewhere rocket men could go if they had the resources” (p. 234). Is he going there?

(Trivia alert: In his nonfiction writings, Tim LaHaye writes,

Somewhere, high in the heavens, out in the universe, a throne is set, which is the throne of God. This throne, described in [Rev. 4:1-2], gives us a glimpse of the heaven of God.

he Bible teaches us that there are three heavens. The first, the atmospheric heaven, where “the prince of the power of the air” holds forth, will one day be destroyed. The second heaven is the stellar heaven, known to us as the universe. The third heaven, into which John was caught up in verse 1, is the heaven of God. This could be the “empty space” referred to by Job in Job 26:7.

[TOM’s note: See also Psa. 18:11, 97:2.]

Although the heavens are filled with stars wherever the telescope can reach, it seems that behind the North Star there is an empty space. For that reason it has been suggested that this could be the third heaven, the heaven of God, where His throne is.

–Revelation Unveiled, c1999 (p. 113).

(So Tsion may have gone north. He passes our local planets and then “numberless galaxies” with “solar systems” of their own. However the novel does not specify a direction. The authors may have decided not to include it. /end aside)

Tsion becomes aware of a destination. A great light, brighter than burning magnesium, blots out the darkness. The Shekinah? The glory of God? Could he see it and live? He goes toward the light (pp. 232-235).

Tsion mistakes the Archangel Michael for Jesus. Tsion describes him (“the face ringed with hair massive as prairie grass”) and even interrupts him (pp. 242-243). Michael shows him an argument between the LORD and Lucifer, although Tsion only can see Lucifer. The enemy transforms into a serpent, then a dragon. Rev. 12:1-5 is re-enacted. Michael departs with many angels to fight the dragon. Tsion wakes with a start (pp. 241-248). The time is 12:59 p.m.

At 10 p.m. Saturday night Tsion is returned to the vision. He mistakes the Archangel Gabriel for Michael, who is engaged in battle (pp. 301-304). Rev. 12:6-12, 17 is re-enacted. When Tsion wakes, it is still 10 p.m. (Aside: the re-enactments are 10 pages, which because of added material is 9 pages longer then the verses upon which they are based.)

Spoiler: What are Rayford’s adventures on his way home from Jerusalem to Illinois?

Answer: “Rayford suddenly felt the weight of life” (pp. 48-51). He recalls the snatches of joy in his life: his daughter, son-in-law, grandson, friends. This reminds him that he has abandoned his friends, Buck and Leah. He tried to assassinate someone. What would Tsion say if he knew what Rayford had done?

“[Rayford] had wondered more than once during the past few months whether he was insane.” The scientific, logical Rayford who was left behind would not have done this. The new believer Rayford would not have done this either. In the quiet of the night, the cooling of the sky, the sea below, Rayford can feel “the hound of heaven pursuing him.” It is time to stop running. “He was going to face this, to square his shoulders to God and take the heat” (pp. 50-51). He cycles through shame, humility, prayer, and reminders of his responsibilities as leader of the Tribulation Force (pp. 70-73).

Rayford hopes that someone in Greece will shelter him. Over a hundred congregations had arisen in secret. His friend Lukas (Laslos) Mikos reports that Carpathia had wooed Greece into submission. “You are a deeply religious people, with a rich place in the histories of many belief systems.” The Antichrist’s power to mesmerize large crowds was believed to be so effective that “Greece was all but ignored by GC counter-intelligence, security, and peacekeeping forces. The country was low maintenance” (pp. 67-69).

Laslos and a pastor named Demetrius Demeter take Rayford to a secluded cottage. Demetrius says that he does not know if Rayford shot Carpathia. “But I discern your brokenness, and it is because you have sinned” (p. 110). Rayford is convicted by conscience and healed by the words of the young pastor. Released from his “murderous rage” and from “the dread fear that came with life as an international fugitive, he rested in the knowledge that he was a child of the King, a saved, forgiven, precious, beloved son in the hollow of his Father’s hand” (pp. 112-113).

The next morning, a believer named Adon gives Rayford a severe haircut down to the stubble and dyes it gray. Does Rayford wear glasses? Contacts, he says. “‘Not anymore,’” Laslos said, and Adon produced a pair that completed the look.” This new look adds ten years to his appearance. Then Adon forges new photo identification papers (pp. 130-131).

They miss a detail. The tower official observes, “Wow! It looks like this picture was taken today … He got this [ID] eight, nine months ago, but his hair’s the same length and, if I’m not mistaken, he’s wearing the same shirt.” Rayford bluffs that the hair doesn’t grow much anymore, and he doesn’t own a lot of shirts. “Your own plane and not that many shirts? There’s priorities for you.” Rayford shrugs; it’s a company plane. The GC lets him go (pp. 138-139).

Rayford and Leah agree to meet in the airport in Kankakee. He leaves the engine running, runs into the building, wakes Leah, grabs her, and they take off, “certain that Kankakee had no GC pursuit craft and no interest in a small jet flyer who had boorishly violated their protocols.” They apologize to each other (pp. 173-175). At Palwaukee, they hot-wire one of T Delanty’s cars (p. 179). Then they visit the Zekes (senior and junior) to get a makeover and a new identity for Leah (a.k.a. “Gerri Seaver”) (p. 180). Rayford calls the safe house and learns from Tsion that Chloe went to Chicago (p. 181).

Spoiler: What do Tsion and Chloe debate?

Answer: It is four PM on Friday (pp. 53-60). Tsion and Chloe worry that Hattie has compromised them. Suddenly Chloe is fighting tears (p. 55). “Tsion was alarmed at how much it took for Chloe to articulate her thoughts. They had always been able to talk, but she had never been extremely self-revelatory.” He says that he will keep her confidences. “Consider it clergy-parishioner privilege.”

Chloe has been watching “those staged rallies” where people worship the Antichrist. Small children—all aged three-and-a-half years and younger—are prominently featured (p. 56). They parade before Carpathia’s body and salute over their hearts with every step. “Day care workers and parents dressed the kids alike [in GC uniforms], and cute little boys and girls brought flowers and were taught to bow and wave and salute and sing to Carpathia.” Worse, children barely old enough to speak are being taught to speak—to pray—“Our Father in New Babylon, Carpathia be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done …” Tsion says he is “afraid of lightning” strikes.

Chloe slowly says, “I have been studying death …. I will not allow myself or my baby to fall into the hands of the enemy.” Has she told her husband? asks Tsion. No, she has not, and Tsion just promised that he would keep her confidence (p. 57). Chloe continues with “chilling conviction” that “I would rather we were dead ….I would [kill myself]. And I would commit infanticide.”

Tsion prays silently for wisdom. He asks Chloe, “Is this a sign of faith, or lack of faith?” Chloe does not know. But she “cannot image that God would want me or my baby in that situation.” Tsion asks if she thinks God wants her in this situation. God is not willing that any should perish. God would rather that she had been ready [to have gone up in the Rapture]. She knows, interrupts Chloe, she knows.

Tsion believes her. But he believes that she is not being “honest” with herself. She keeps using the word “infanticide.” He says, “There you go again. Buffering your conviction with easy words. You’re no better than the abortionists who refer to their unborn babies as embryos or fetuses or pregnancies so they can ‘eliminate’ them or ‘terminate’ them rather than kill them” (p. 58).

Tsion urges her to admit “what you’re going to do to this little one, because obviously, you have to do it to him first if it’s going to get done. Because if you kill yourself, none of the rest of us will do this job for you.” What is she really planning to do? “Kill.” Kill whom? With what? “Him.” Who is him? With what? Tsion presses, “Put it in a sentence.” Chloe finally says, “I will. I will … kill … my own baby.”

“‘Baby!’ Kenny exulted, running to her. She reached for him, sobbing.”

Tsion repeats, how would she do it? Chloe says that this is what she is studying. And then Chloe would kill herself? Yes. Tsion asks, why? Chloe says, “Because I cannot live without him.”

Well then, Tsion says, then her husband would be “justified” in killing himself (p. 59). Chloe shakes her head; the world needs him. Tsion replies that the world needs Chloe. Think of the co-op, he begins. Chloe cries, “I can’t think anymore! I want done with this! I want it over! I don’t know what we were thinking, bringing a child into this world.”

Tsion: but the child has brought so much joy. Chloe: that is why she “could not do him the disservice of letting him fall into GC hands.”

Tsion: “So the GC comes, you kill the baby, kill yourself, Cameron and your father kill themselves. Where does it end?” Chloe: they wouldn’t; they couldn’t. Tsion: you can’t, and you won’t.

Chloe thought she could talk to Tsion, that at least he would be sympathetic. Tsion assures her that she can talk to him, and he is sympathetic, but he will not condone this. “Neither do I want to live without you and the little one. You know what comes next.”

Chloe says, “Oh, Tsion, you would not deprive your global church of yourself.” Tsion replies, “Yet you would deprive me of yourself. You must not care for me as much as I care for you, or as much as I thought you did.”

Chloe sighs and looks to the ceiling. “You’re not helping,” she says in mock exasperation (p. 60). He is trying, he says. She knows, she says, and she appreciates it.

“Tsion asked her to pray with him for their loved ones. She knelt on the floor next to the couch, holding his hand … Tsion peeked at a sound and saw Kenny kneeling next to his mother, hands folded, fingers entwined, eyes closed” (p. 60).

Spoiler: Does it work?

Answer: Tsion does not know. He misreads her sometimes. When Rayford is accused of murder, Chloe is silent. “Tsion might have predicted tears, disbelief, railing against someone other than her father. She just sat, shaking her head” (p. 87). They discuss Rayford’s rage. Tsion shares that rage, when he thinks of his own family (p. 89).

Coming so soon after their own discussion, Chloe wonders, “There’s no exception to God’s law if the [murder] victim is the Antichrist, is there? …. Mustn’t [Rayford] turn himself in?” Tsion replies, “Off the top of my head, I believe we are at war. In the heat of battle, killing the enemy has never been considered murder.” Furthermore, Tsion would harbor Rayford, though of course urging him to seek God about it (p. 90).

Next, Tsion is unprepared and “alarmed” when Chloe decides to go for a drive. Tsion cannot order her; he is not her superior. But “Chloe was proposing madness” (p. 170). It is broad daylight. It is reckless. She is taking their last vehicle, leaving Tsion with nothing. Chloe shrugs; he cannot outrun the GC anyway. Let him be the one to sit quietly and be invisible. And if the GC does locate them? “Promise me you will do anything but let Kenny fall into GC hands …. I want him to die first.”

Tsion replies strongly and immediately, “That I will not do.” He would die protecting Kenny. Chloe insists that that is not good enough. “You’ll be a martyr, but you still will have lost Kenny to the enemy.” Tsion replies, “You’re right. You’d better stay here.” Nice try, replies Chloe, and leaves (p. 171).

When the GC begins searching Mount Prospect for the safe house, Chloe in Chicago is nearly hysterical. She calls Tsion. Chloe says, “Under my mattress is a syringe with a [potion which TOM has excised from these spoilers]. It’ll work quick, but you have to [method, also excised]. Please! Don’t ever let them have my baby!” Tsion tells Chloe to get hold of herself. He will protect Kenny with his life. He is not going to harm Kenny. And he has work to do. After Chloe demands and pleads “please” three times and “promise me” twice more, Tsion replies, “God is with us,” and hangs up (p. 308).

Spoiler: What do others say about Chloe’s decision?

Answer: In its entirety from p. 312: “Rayford was heartsick that Chloe was determined to kill Kenny rather than see him fall into the hands of the enemy. And yet as a father, he could identify with her passion. It terrified him that she had thought it through to the point where she had an injection prepared.” Rayford hears about it only because he is standing next to Chloe when she makes her phone call. They never discuss it.

After they pick up Albie, Buck, and Chaim at the airport, Chloe suddenly puts her arms around Leah Rose, thanks her for her help, and says, “forgive me.” Leah accepts, then adds, “Just tell me you didn’t get the [potion] idea” and materials from Nurse Leah. Yes, says Chloe, she did. Suddenly Chloe says she is “glad” to know that Tsion would never hurt Kenny (pp. 333-334).

Spoiler: Who is Guy Blod? What is David’s connection to him?

Answer: Guy Blod (pronounced ghee blahd) begins as a persistent callback number on David Hassid’s beeper (p. 42). David’s voice mail quickly fills up “foul, nasty rantings, profanity and high-school gutter language.” The gist of the message is: “Where are you? Where could you be at a time like this? It’s the middle of the night! Do you even know about the murder? Call me! Don’t you know who I am?!”

Guy is a painter and sculptor appointed by Carpathia to the GC ministry of creative arts (pp. 42-46, 60-66, etc). He supervises the decorating of all GC buildings in New Babylon, which feature his creations. “He was considered a genius, though David—admittedly no expert—considered his work laughably gaudy and decidedly profane. ‘The more shocking and anti-God, the better’ had to have been Blod’s premise.”

Guy has approximately 29 hours to create a statue of the deceased Carpathia. He needs David to procure the necessary materials. If work proceeds on schedule, the inner shell will be forged and finished by midnight Saturday/Sunday. This gives Guy and his apprentices approximately six hours to sculpt the surface. Guy and David establish that the statue will be 24 feet tall, hollow, primarily bronze “with a sort of ebony finish with a texture of iron.” David helpfully suggests that it would be more stable if the sculptor “cheats on the shoes.” What shoes, asks Guy. The statue will be “au naturel.” David makes a face. Is that thing truly going to be installed in the palace courtyard for a televised funeral? Guy says dismissively, “You obviously have some hang-up about the human form and can’t appreciate the beauty” (p. 62-63).

(Aside: Volume 1, p. 232 describes Carpathia as “handsome as a young Robert Redford.” That is what Guy Blod intends to create and display: a 24-foot tall, anatomically correct statue of a 36-year-old evil Robert Redford. Naked.)

Guy and David needle each other relentlessly. Each calls the other man “Hayseed” and “Blood” no matter how many times the other corrects him. Grade-school math, the color of crayons, and “bronze and iron thingie suppliers” must be hammered out (p. 62). When David calls Guy “sir” six times in six minutes and Guy complains—“quit calling me that!”—David replies, “I’m sorry, I thought you were male” (pp. 44-46). David also calls the Minister of Arts “Minnie” (p. 217) and asks if Guy is going to tell David’s mom on him (p. 46).

Late at night, David recalls the story of Hattie’s friend Bo, whom Rayford tormented. Bo later committed suicide. David wonders why he gets so much joy out of tormenting Guy. The odds that Guy would ever convert seem low, but weren’t the odds low that David would have converted? Yet here he is. Was David even trying to be a positive influence in Guy’s life? (p. 266). When David’s conscience prods him to apologize, Guy is understandably suspicious (p. 273). But when the statue is finished by Sunday sunrise, Guy thanks David for his help (p. 217).

Guy has designed an eternal furnace inside the statue. The fire is lit under the knees, and the face—the eyes, nostrils, and mouth just like the deceased—is the only exhaust. “This sort of art is a duet between sculptor and viewer, and my goal is that they participate in the illusion that the statue is alive.” The fuel is a form of shale. The kindling is confiscated Bibles (p. 288)—anything on “onionskin paper … from every tribe and nation … holy books from all around the world, the last contribution of the late Pontifex Maximus” (pp. 283-284).

Before the idol is welded shut, a plain paper box is placed inside. David peeks. The furnace is the perfect place to entomb and melt the real murder weapon (p. 217).

Guy exhibits certain “outrageous,” “flamboyant” (p. 60) and “sassy artiste” (p. 43) mannerisms. Guy calls David “sweetie,” “dear boy,” and “soldier” (pp. 45, 64, and 273). Guy has a five-man “entourage of similarly huffy and put-out men in their late thirties” who share his traits and fashion sense (p. 43). (One of these sports two-inch green fingernails.) Guy spins in his swivel chair, giggles in mirth (pp. 62-63), has a “muse” (p. 64), and speaks in singsong (pp. 273, 283). When David references the “naked boy” statue, Guy exclaims, “ooh! How rude and tacky!” (p. 263), but does not “squeal” on David to Fortunado (p. 273). And when David comments that they will need protective gear and a hard hat to visit the forge, Guy turns to his “mates” and says, “I love new clothes” (p. 66).

The last known sighting of Guy is when the smoking statue demands to be worshipped. “Guy Blod and his assistants shrieked and fell prostrate, peeking at the image” (p. 349). The narrative does not record his reaction when the real Carpathia returns, or whatever happened to him. It also never uses the term that the character’s portrayal seems intended to suggest.

Spoiler: Why is Guy surprised? He built the thing, didn’t he?

Answer: He claims it was not designed to talk. David inspects it from a motorized scaffold and hears it talking as the lift approaches the face. “Muffled and sonorous, it was clearly Carpathia’s timbre. What was it saying, and how had they gotten it to do that? A chip? A disc player? A tape? He felt the vibration again, heard the hum, cocked his head to listen. ‘I shall shed the blood of saints and prophets’” (p. 285).

But when David asks, how did Guy get a recording in there—“won’t it melt?”—Guy says David is crazy, mistaken, hearing things. David insists that the statue spoke to him twice. Guy retorts, “This thing hasn’t been out of my sight since the shell was delivered. This isn’t a theme park. I don’t want giant talking action figures” (p. 286). So when the idol emits enough smoke to blot out the sun and starts quoting stolen Bible verses, he is as taken by surprise as is anyone.

Spoiler: What else is David doing in this volume?

Answer: He is settling in to New Babylon. Aside from Guy’s creations, David admires the rest of the city. “Carpathia had employed the best architects and landscapers and designers and decorators. And except for the absence of any God-honoring art, the place looked magnificent. Great colored spotlights accentuated the massive, crystalline buildings.” The disasters cause staffing shortages, irregular garbage disposal and delays in street-light replacement, but overall the city remains “stunning, a man-made marvel” (pp. 165-166).

After a tip from Guy about “that regional numbering thing” (p. 62), David sneaks into Viv Ivins’ office (pp. 79-83). He finds only a cryptic map. The new administration is changing the name of “The United Holy Land States” to “The United Carpathian States” and assigning it the number “216.” (The “United North American States” is numbered minus-6). For seven regional states, the cryptic numbers are multiples of six. For three others—the United South American States: “0” … The United Great Britain States: “2” … The United African States: “7”—they are not. (Aside, with spoilers for Volume 8: the numbers are regional prefixes for the Mark of the Beast.)

David learns from the news that Leon Fortunado has restored satellite communications. “David wondered why he had been asked to interfere with telephone capability and someone else had been asked to reverse it” (p. 104).

Next, David looks for a new safe house for the Tribulation Force. The originals have been living in Donny and Sandy Moore’s duplex for 21 months, since the Wrath of the Lamb Earthquake. They have no known neighbors within three miles and sit on the edge of open country. The Trib Force has expanded the cellar, hiding the shelter door with a defunct freezer of rotting food (p. 121). They have a makeshift well and solar power plant (p. 338). David wants to find something that good or better.

Chicago is “a ghost town, nothing living within 40 miles” (p. 102). The GC declared the city radioactive, and dozens died of what looked and acted like radiation poisoning. Not everyone agrees. “Some radical journalists, Buck Williams wanna-bes, averred on the Internet that the abandoning of Chicago was the biggest foul-up in history … and that the place was inhabitable” (p. 103). When remote probes do not give the expected readings, the results are attributed to equipment failure. David hacks in to see for himself. When he is satisfied that it is safe, he changes the readings of the probes to read danger.

David selects the Strong Building, only five years old. The 80-story skyscraper—now 26 stories shorter—looks like “a stubborn tree trunk that refused to cave in to the storms that leveled most of the rest of the city” (p. 104). From New Babylon, David hacks into the skyscraper’s software (pp. 131-135). “The best video game in history would not have been more addicting.” David finds the first 39 floors functional. He plays with the system for almost three hours, trying the HVAC, lights, phones, sanitation, elevators, security cameras. The building is “a technical marvel, wholly solar-powered.” David also finds over sixty abandoned cars in the underground garage. The valet station is still stocked with keys. This building could hide hundreds of exiles. Over the phone and via cameras, David walks Rayford, Chloe, and Leah through the office building (pp. 295-297). Rayford considers it the best gift God had given to the Tribulation Force since the arrival of Tsion. The only thing that would make it better is if it had beds (p. 306).

(It is only at this point that Chloe declares that she went for a drive to find a new safe house—p. 195—and that she thought of Chicago independently.)

Next, David watches Fortunado do some housekeeping (pp. 251-252). Fortunado asks, as if David would not remember, about Pontifex Maximus Peter Matthews who died earlier in the week (in Volume 6). Fortunado has made his memory “fade” from most people’s minds until Peter’s funeral is cancelled due to lack of interest. Fortunado also proposes that the Enigma Babylon “amalgam” be replaced with worship of “Saint” Carpathia. David gives the desired answers: “I think you will prevail.” Pleased, Fortunado offers his “capable and loyal” David a healthy raise and a chance to name his own role in the new regime. David lets Fortunado make that decision. To only one thing does David say no: a chance to speak at Carpathia’s funeral. Fortunado would be pleased to give him the time slot assigned to one of those “self-serving sons of the devil” who actually want it. David thinks, it takes one to know one.

Finally, David has to deal with the funeral. New Babylon is overwhelmed, with multiple families in every hotel room. The head of GC-CNN complains that “the viewing is not meeting their felt needs” (p. 290). Fortunado instructs David to bring enough television monitors to serve the predicted four million pilgrim-spectators. David also must lend his staff toward crowd control. Annie is stationed at marker 53, about a mile from the bier.

Ming Toy attends the funeral, as does her family (p. 305). Mr. Wong is insulted that they too can get no closer than marker 53. “I VIP because of business. Give lots money to Global Community. Very big patriot. Global patriot.” He orders David to introduce him to Fortunado and get them special seats in the palace courtyard. Fortunately for the newcomers, David confiscates the five VIP seats Guy Blod had reserved for his assistants. He and they will be “honored” by standing next to the statue in 100-degree heat all day. The Wong family can have their seats (pp. 317-320).

Spoiler: How does Tyrola Mark “T” Delanty die?

Answer: T flies to Israel to retrieve Buck and Chaim. If they go to an airport, Chaim will be recognized. Buck advises T to land on a deserted road at night. The Super J lands hard, spins to a stop (p. 213), and blows a tire (p. 220).

The fugitives board, with Chaim “whining” that they are all going to die. T uses the propulsion and the brakes to feather up the craft onto its one good tire. They barely miss a barrier of twisted pavement and a grove of trees as they return to the air (pp. 221-223). Chaim isn’t wrong about the danger. T has heard of one-wheel landings, but a belly landing may be unavoidable. He estimates that they have 50-50 odds of surviving the latter. “I’ll see you heaven, regardless,” he tells Buck (p. 223).

As they arrive in Greece, they hear good news and bad news. The good news is that Albie is waiting for them with another plane. The bad news is that the Super J runs out of fuel. They have to land on battery backup (pp. 260-261). T is unable to retract the one good wheel. The plane breaks in half upon impact (pp. 261, 265).

Buck and Chaim survive with injuries. T is found in the cockpit, strapped into his seat, at rest. “Buck saw no blood, no bones, no twisted limbs.” He takes T’s lifeless head into his arms and whispers, “I’ll see you at the Eastern Gate” (pp. 270-271).

Spoiler: Where, when, and how do the characters get saved?

Answer: Ming Toy credits her little brother Chang Wong, now seventeen, for her conversion (p. 13). Chang was led to faith by his friends. Ming and Chang have not told their parents, who are “very old-fashioned and very pro-Carpathia, especially my father. I worry about Chang” (p. 13).

Ming hears news that Buck’s family will be targeted if they do not reveal his location. They have no idea where he is, but that may not protect them. Ming predicts, “torture, dismemberment, then the fire to cover it up” (p. 200) because this is what the GC did to Chaim’s household.

Chloe breaks the news to her husband. The GC did come for Buck’s family (offscreen). The enemy couldn’t find them at first, because they were at church (p. 279). Their pastor states that Buck’s brother [Jeff] was the instigator. “He confronted your father about his stubborn insistence that he was a believer and always had been.” Jeff visited the home church alone several times. Their father “finally came just to avoid being alone …. One of the biggest obstacles was that he knew one day he would have to admit that you were right and he was wrong” (pp. 309-310). Their father wanted to tell Buck, but he was worried that their phone was bugged. The pastor concludes, “I just want you to know, sir, that your dad and your brother became true believers, and I’m sure they’re with God right now. They were so proud of you.” (The pastor adds, “And you can tell Dr. Ben-Judah that he has at least one church out here that could lose its pastor and never skip a beat. We all love him” –p. 310.)

Albie gets saved off-screen (p. 277). He meets Buck and Chaim in Greece. Buck is surprised to see his Saved Seal. Albie replies that it happened recently, within the week. He wanted to tell Rayford, but the phones were not working.

Buck asks how Albie came to faith. Albie replies, “Nothing dramatic, I’m afraid. I have always been religious, but Rayford and Mac and Abdullah all urged me to at least consider the writings of Dr. Ben-Judah. Finally I did. You know what reached me? His assessment of the difference between religion and Christianity.” Buck asks if this is the contention that religion is man’s attempt to reach God, while Jesus is God’s attempt to reach man. “The very argument,” Albie says. “I spent a couple of days surfing the archives of Dr. Ben-Judah’s Web site, saw all his explanations of the prophesied plagues and judgments, then studied the prophecies about the coming Christ. How anyone with a functioning mind—” Laslos interrupts Albie. They need to keep moving.

Chaim Rosenzweig gets saved at last. Buck locates and retrieves Chaim. Buck tells him that Chaim’s entire staff has been murdered. Chaim wails in horror. He cries that their murders must be avenged (p. 159). He threatens to jump from a window and tells Buck, “If I lose my nerve, you must push me!” Buck retorts that he will do no such thing. Chaim responds that he will not surrender to the GC. Moreover, Chaim claims he deserves to go to hell for what happened to his staff (page 160).

Chaim admits that Buck’s persistence has led him from atheism to agnosticism to belief in God’s existence (page 185). Yet part of him still believes that death is the end (p. 187). Between his belief that if there is a hell, he belongs there, and Buck’s insistence that Carpathia will rise from the dead (thus proving an afterlife), Chaim is truly miserable. He finally says, “I know I am lost” and bursts into tears (p. 197).

As T, Buck, and Chaim face the very real odds of dying in a plane crash, Chaim asks, “What is your best guess about how God feels about motives?” He wonders if conversion counts—if God will accept him—if his motives are selfish (pp. 225- 228). Buck replies, “we all come to faith selfish in some ways, Chaim. How could it be otherwise? We want to be forgiven. We want to be accepted, received, included. We want to go to heaven instead of hell. We want to be able to face death knowing what comes next” (p. 227).

As T’s plane makes its final desperate approach to earth, Chaim kneels and prays. Chaim cries, “I prayed, but I’m still scared!” So are T and Buck. But the Seal of the saved is on Chaim’s forehead (pp. 248-250, 254-255).

Hattie is not saved in this novel.

Spoiler: Describe the preparations for Antichrist Carpathia’s funeral.

Answer: Fortunado wants a public funeral (pp. 27-28). The ceremony is to be noon on Sunday, with burial at 2 p.m. on Sunday (p. 292). “Fortunately the face was not affected …. He must look perfect, dignified.” Fortunado hires a “local mortician” named Madeline Eikenberry, who very much “needs the work” after recently laying off staff and “reorganizing her business” (p. 27). Eikenberry identifies herself as an M.D. and forensic pathologist (p. 149): morgue, rather than mortuary. Even so, she performs both the autopsy (pp. 149-156) and the embalming (p. 147) and restoration (pp. 147, 215).

Carpathia’s casket is a pine box with a Plexiglas cover for viewing. Honor guards polish the surface after every touch. As David watches, a worker pumps out air for a more perfect vacuum. David almost wishes the man were worthy of the display (p. 216).

“The work of Dr. Eikenberry had been astounding, as there was no evidence of trauma. Yet … Carpathia appeared more lifeless than any corpse David had ever seen.” He wonders if it is a wax figure (p. 216). By the time of the funeral, it is 106 degrees; if the body is a fake, it will melt (p. 326). From the beginning David and Annie speculate that the GC will display a dummy. That would imply that Carpathia would come back to life in the morgue refrigerator, and nobody would see it. “They don’t believe the prophecies, do they?” (p. 30).

Tsion is having his own issues with prophecy authorities. “Many sincere believers had questioned his teaching that the Antichrist would actually die from a wound to the head. Some said the Scriptures indicated that it would be merely a wound that made him appear dead. He tried to assure them that his best interpretation of the original Greek led him to believe that the man would actually die and then be indwelt by Satan himself upon coming back to life” (p. 119).

The media is split about recent events. Many interviewees praise Carpathia. Others praise Jesus. A reporter attributes the latter to the desperation of the spiritual vacuum caused by the death of the potentate and of the head of the One World Religion within a few days of each other (pp. 293-294).

Spoiler: Did Rayford Steele kill Nicolae Carpathia?

Answer: Rayford does not know. He admits to everything else. He aimed. The gun fired. But Rayford doesn’t know if he killed the Antichrist. “He had tried to, intended to, but couldn’t pull the trigger.” Rayford was bumped, and the gun went off (p. 20).

In New Babylon, David plants eavesdropping devices in the autopsy room and the evidence room. He also visits the evidence room. The purported bullet damage to the lectern, curtain, hook eyeholes, and brass casings of the curtain hooks leaves David astounded. Intelligence Chief Jim Hickman says, “The bullet coming from a weapon like that creates a mini-tornado. If a real Kansas twister had the same relative strength, it would mix Florida and Maine with California and Washington” (p. 141).

Hickman adds, “We’ve got eyewitnesses who say a guy in a raghead getup took the shot” (p. 142). Hickman whispers conspiratorially to David that Rayford is part of a conspiracy, and that his part was to make a diversionary shot. It would embarrass the administration if the kill wound came from the platform i.e., an inside job. Fortunado wants to promote the “disgruntled former employee” story in public (pp. 142, 151) while they deal with the conspiracy in private.

During the autopsy, David and Mac hear Eikenberry yelling at Carpathia’s physician. Eikenberry finds a 15- to 18-inch “big knife or small sword” still embedded from the nape of the neck to and through the crown of the skull (p. 152). Why was she not told that there was an exposed sharp in the victim? The other replies, “We didn’t want to prejudice you.” Eikenberry declares that unless they find a bullet wound, the sharp alone killed him (p. 153). Mac and David exchange glances. Rayford did not do it.

Next, David listens to a meeting of Fortunado, Hickman, and Moon. They examine video footage of the assassination. Because they have Rayford’s fingerprints, they look for him. They find him very close, three to four rows deep in the crowd. Hickman says, “good get-up. The gray hair sticking up out of the turban. Nice touch. Robes. I woulda thought he was an Arab.” Either Moon or Fortunado replies, “Some kinda raghead anyway” (p. 166). Then, “they all chuckled.”

Leon says softly, “Rayford Steele. Who’d have believed that? Wouldn’t murder be against his religion?” Hickman considers, “Maybe he convinces himself it’s a holy war. Then I guess everything goes” (p. 166). Moon confirms that Rayford missed.

So David is stunned when the severe Eikenberry—prettied up with makeup and a softer hairstyle—announces Carpathia died from a bullet from a Saber handgun. His last words were of forgiveness for the shooter. “I can tell you that there is no human explanation for the potentate’s ability to speak at all, given the physical damage. Truly this was a righteous man. Truly this was the son of god” (pp. 177-178). David’s recording from the morgue states otherwise. Yesterday Eikenberry had declared, “unless he could speak supernaturally, this man could not have said a word. Maybe they want to invent something for posterity, but no one had better ask me if it was possible” (p. 173).

David overhears Fortunado hypnotizing a cameraman and his supervisor (pp. 190-195). Fortunado now has the same mind-control powers as did Carpathia. Annie Christopher reports that Carpathia brainwashed Buck Williams before he was saved. She asks if Fortunado is the real Antichrist. After all, the purported one is still dead (p. 204).

David is petrified when Fortunado shows him a videodisc that clearly shows Carpathia’s assassination (pp. 206-210). Fortunado moves to hypnotize him. Suddenly David sees something different on the video playback. It shows Rayford as the shooter. Did someone switch videodiscs? Was David weaker than Buck Williams? (p. 209). David decides to say, “Steele must pay” (p. 210). But David knows he is in his right mind when he sees the GC dispose of the plain paper box with the real murder weapon (p. 217).

Regardless of the secrets behind the scene, the public situation is that the entire world is looking for Rayford Steele. He can hide from the GC but not from every person on earth—not unless he goes to ground and stays there, which Rayford is unlikely to do.

Spoiler: Did Hattie Durham kill Nicolae Antichrist Carpathia?

Answer: No. Ming Toy states that Hattie did not go to Jerusalem. Instead, she went directly from Europe to North America (pp. 12-13). Fortunado, Hickman, and Moon confirm it. They think she is going to Colorado to attend her sister’s funeral. They chortle that she doesn’t know it happened a month ago (p. 167).

Hattie does want to see if any of her family are still alive. However, she knows that she is being followed. She intends to lead the GC on a wild-goose chase (pp. 188-190). They told her to her face that “as it was clear that she had lost [Carpathia’s] baby, she was no longer a threat and was free to go,” even though “all she talked about was killing Carpathia” (p. 12). The GC believed that she would neither kill Carpathia nor go home to Colorado, but would instead lead them to the Tribulation Force. Now that they know better, they are angry enough to snip this loose end.

Buck tells Hattie that if she can elude her pursuers and they can accommodate her, they might offer her shelter again. Hattie replies, “You were all better than I deserved …. Just tell everybody I’m safe and so are they, and thanks for everything I didn’t deserve.” Buck replies that they all love her and are praying for her (p. 190).

As for the assassination, there may have been a woman in that Jerusalem crowd of two million people who looked like Hattie, but Hattie Durham was never there.

Spoiler: Well, then, whodunnit?

Answer: Professor Plum in the conservatory with a knife. Dr. Rosenzweig on the stage with a sword.

Buck finds Chaim Rosenzweig’s house in disarray, but Chaim’s workshop is neat and spare, as if cleaned before a move (p. 75). It gives him hope that Chaim escaped. In his mind, Buck lists the places he and Chaim have been. Buck tries The Harem, the bar where Buck and Chaim had retrieved Jacov (p. 96; Volume 5, 120). An earthquake has since put it out of business, and the streets are dark. Buck finds Chaim hiding up in a tree (p. 98). “Cameron, Cameron! This is almost enough to make a believer out of me. I knew you’d come.”

Chaim boasts the details. He only pretended to have a stroke. When he was alone, he exercised vigorously every day. Now in his late sixties, he is as strong and fit as he has ever been in his life. Buck is offended. Why would Chaim do this to his friends? Chaim shrugs: so that nobody would know his scheme (pp. 113-114). (Trivia alert: Although the text never mentions it, Chaim also gambled that Carpathia would not think to brainwash a stroke victim.)

Buck has a crisis of conscience. Chaim has committed first-degree murder—but Buck believes the victim will come back to life. What is Chaim’s culpability if there is no evidence of the wound? But the premeditation! “You planned …. for months, virtually told me you were going to do it by showing me your blade making—I don’t know where my head was” (pp. 183-184).

Chaim wanted it to be dramatic and satisfying. He hid his homemade short sword in the tubing of his wheelchair. He would leap from on high, drive the blade into the taller man’s crown, and ride it all the way down (p. 160). (“I was practicing my jumping.”) When everyone heard a gunshot, Carpathia stumbled and fell into Chaim’s lap. Chaim stabbed upward as Carpathia fell down (p. 161). It looked like a bayonet in a watermelon, but it worked (p. 207).

Chaim did it “to murder the greatest enemy my country has ever had” (p. 197). “I hated the man. I hated his lies and his broken promises to my homeland” (pp. 227-228).

Spoiler: How does Baby Kenny Bruce Williams die or escape?

Answer: The GC finds Leah hiding in the Land Rover outside of Chicago. She explains that the car belongs to her friend Russell Staub—an alias of Buck Williams—of Mount Prospect. She lies that she pulled over because she was sleepy (p. 203). The Peacekeepers notice her companions and suspect Rayford of being Ken Ritz or an acquaintance of his (p. 219-220). Rayford, Leah, and Chloe beat a hasty retreat, abandoning Chloe’s Suburban in the process. But instead of going home, they continue forward into Chicago. It is after midnight Saturday/Sunday when they start the long drive home (p. 307).

Unfortunately the GC remembers that Rayford Steele’s last known address was in Mount Prospect. Word travels quickly (pp. 306-307). Ming hears it at work. She tells Annie (who tells Tsion) and David (who tells Rayford). Chloe calls Tsion insisting that he be ready to “do it.” Tsion again refuses to put Baby Kenny to death. But he calculates that Rayford and the Land Rover are an hour away (p. 309). He cannot flee; Chloe took their last car.

Chloe calls Buck. Albie, who is with Buck and Chaim, comprehends the situation immediately (pp. 310-312). It happens that Albie a.k.a. Deputy Commander Marcus Elbaz has a GC uniform, GC identification, a weapon, and a plan. He orders Rayford to bring the Rover and orders David to give him a valid GC security code (p. 316). Buck and Chloe meet in Palwaukee (p. 332). Albie shows Rayford his Saved Seal and assumes command of the mission (p. 334).

Tsion reports that he can hear vehicle traffic. In the darkness, Albie moves to intercept, bringing Rayford and Chloe with him. “Rayford saw Chloe’s look in the low light, one of fierce determination that was more than just that of a protective mother. If they were going to engage the enemy, she plainly wanted in on it” (p. 346).

Albie confronts three GC vehicles with twelve operatives (pp. 354-357, 359-363). Albie reminds the enemy “Squadron Leader Datillo” that the time is 1330 Sunday afternoon in New Babylon. “It’s the funeral, isn’t it, sir?” There is a moratorium on combat-related activity anywhere in the world during the solemnities. “No untoward publicity [shall] crowd out the funeral as the top news story” (pp. 362-363). If the squadron leaves immediately and tells no one, the Deputy Commander will tell no one about the squadron leader’s mistake.

After Datillo already has agreed and is trying to leave, Albie adds that he found a house full of targets and apprehended them; he just hasn’t had time to collect the evidence and no, he does not need any help. The nervous squadron leader who is looking for Rayford profusely thanks Albie and his associates Chloe and Rayford and “races off into the darkness” (p. 363). The Tribulation Force enters the safe house, and Chloe races to pull Kenny from his crib and smother him with kisses (p. 369).

It is at this point that Hattie Durham, “near hysterics,” calls Rayford to warn him to evacuate the safe house (p. 373). “Don’t ask me how I know,” she says. She insists she did not give them away. Hattie has been accused of compromising the safe house no less than sixteen times—(pp. 13, 37, 45, 54, 55, 101, 102, 120, 146, 168, 181, 189, 195, 206, 310, 331)—but she didn’t do it.

Tsion continues to watch the funeral on television until Rayford prods him to record it and get packing. They take only what they can carry. Rayford leaves his laptop in Mount Prospect; he believes he can get online again in Chicago (p. 386). Rayford and Buck are in favor of burning the safe house, but Albie says not to spend the time. “Let the GC waste time digging through it, and then they can cook it” (p. 383). He suggests that they drive to Palwaukee and move the majority of their members by chopper to the Chicago safe house.

Buck holds the sleeping Baby Kenny while Chloe packs. They trade baby for bundle and Chloe carries their son to the Land Rover. The coolness of the predawn refreshes their spirits. They leave the home of Donny and Sandy Moore for the last time.

Tsion keeps Chloe’s secret. Nobody ever tells Buck Williams what his wife had planned to do to herself and their baby behind his back.

Spoiler: Why are Albie and Rayford arguing?

Answer: Rayford “wondered why had he not assured himself of the integrity of Albie’s mark [Seal]” with the spit-shine test instead of just looking at it (p. 352). As soon as they reach the safe house, Rayford demands Albie’s real name. You know my name, Albie says. Rayford wants to check Albie’s mark [Seal]. Albie replies, “In my culture, that is a terrible insult.” What insult, asks Rayford. Albie’s culture never had the [Seal] before. Albie replies that the insult is to not be trusted (pp. 373-375).

Rayford says, “Take it as a compliment. If you’re for real, you were so convincing as a GC commander that you made me wonder” (p. 376). Albie just seems to know too well what he is doing. Albie replies that he reads; he does his homework. Sometimes he even bluffs, just as Buck and Rayford do.

Albie himself had said to trust no one (pp. 356-357). When Rayford parrots it back to him (pp. 375-376), Albie is incensed. He throws down his cap, draws a gun, throws it onto Chloe’s bed, and dares Rayford to shoot him. He dares Rayford to check his Seal. “Touch it, rub it, wash it, put petrol on it. Do whatever you have to do to convince yourself” (p. 378). Albie uses the words “offended” and “insulted” six times until Rayford asks Albie to forgive him. Albie retorts, “That will require more of an apology than you have the time or energy or, I may say, the insight to give” (p. 379).

As he walks out, Albie holsters the gun and adds, “The only thing more offensive than not being trusted by an old friend is your simpering style of leadership. Rayford, you and those you are responsible for are entering the most dangerous phase of your existence. Don’t blow it with indecision and poor judgment” (p. 380).

Spoiler: Describe Nicolae Jetty Antichrist Carpathia’s funeral.

Answer: Bands, choirs, interpretive dance, fighter jets in formation, and endless lines. David sits 30 feet from the coffin. A video montage of Carpathia’s life ends with a hologram of Carpathia in space, his arms outstretched to embrace the world (pp. 327-330, 335-337). Fortunado also is dressed in a power suit, though not as convincingly (p. 331). He reads a repetitive eulogy, except that his speech includes the missing children (p. 337). David sneaks a glance at his fiancée Annie, making their hand signal 1-4-3 for the number of letters in “I love you” (p. 340).

Fortunado reiterates that the Judah-ites (Christians) and Orthodox Jews are foes of the GC. The statue belches forth smoke. Fortunado quips, “Even Nicolae the Great has to agree with that” (p. 345). Fortunado invites the ten sub-potentates to speak. Three are insufficiently lavish in their praise. Fortunado prays that if he is Carpathia’s successor, may the three be burnt up by fire from the sky. This then happens (p. 350).

When Fortunado asks the pilgrims to look into his eyes—or into the monitors—David guesses what Fortunado is trying to do. The 24-foot image speaks. It glows with intense heat. Fortunado decrees that all who will not worship the image and Carpathia shall die. The image roars, “Fear not! Flee not!” When some flee anyway, lightning strikes the far edges of the crowds, killing many (p. 358). Suddenly the idol cools, looking lifeless again. Its last words are an order to “gaze upon your lord god” Carpathia. The smoke remains, darkening the sky like storm clouds (p. 358). Even the temperature drops (p. 359). David realizes that he cannot locate Annie (pp. 364, 367, 384).).

(Trivia alert: LB: The Kids #26, pp. 130-132 specifies that “in only a few minutes, the temperature had fallen from 109 [degrees Fahrenheit] to low sixties [degrees Fahrenheit].” It also confirms that Annie Christopher is dead. Annie was running to catch the panicked crowds to tell them not to run. She was struck by lightning. She died instantly.)

In the darkness, the automated lights turn themselves on. It gives the effect of spotlights on the coffin. David sees Carpathia’s left index finger rise. A sub-potentate panics and tries to flee. A lightning strike in front of him makes him return to his place. The guards go into assault position, as if prepared to shoot a dead body (p. 364). In the vacuum, Nicolae starts breathing. His eyes open (p. 365). He kicks open the coffin and sends the Plexiglas lid flying, all 80 pounds of it. Then he leaps to his feet. David notices makeup, putty, surgical staples, and stitches left behind in the coffin where Nicolae’s head had lain. Carpathia is crisply dressed, perfectly coiffed, clean-shaven, and smugly triumphant. He quotes Mark 4:39: “Peace. Be still.” The stormclouds vanish, revealing the blazing sun (p. 366). (Trivia alert: this may be a follow-up to an earlier comment by Tsion: “Eons ago, God conceded control of earth’s weather to Satan himself, the prince and power of the air” –Volume 4, page 323. Tsion may have based his belief upon reading Job 1:12, 18-19, Eph. 2:2.)

Carpathia then quotes and takes for his own John 14:27, 14:1; Luke 9b-10; Matt. 8:26; Mark 4:40; Matt. 28:18. He concludes “Anyone who speaks a word against me [i.e. Carpathia indwelt by Satan], it will not be forgiven him. But as for you, the faithful, be of good cheer. It is I; do not be afraid” (p. 367). Carpathia, Fortunado, and Viv Ivins then form a receiving line so that pilgrims may shake hands with him. They “need not fear a recently dead man who wanted to touch and be touched” (p. 374). David sees the lure. “Besides the rugged, European handsomeness, he really sold the care and compassion. David knew he was insidious, but his smarminess didn’t show” (p. 387). But Carpathia won’t have time to shake hands with all of them. He has an announcement to make.

Spoiler: Does Nicolae Jetty Antichrist Carpathia really die and become dead, or merely seem to die and become dead? Does he really rise from the dead or merely seem to rise from the dead?

Answer: Yes to both. As mentioned upthread, he was stabbed in the neck and head and bled out and flatlined and was embalmed. He was dead.

As to whether Carpathia’s body has become a resurrection body, a forever-body, it now has abilities consistent with a forever-body. Carpathia no longer needs nourishment, including water (Volume 10, p. 374). During the Fourth Bowl Judgment (Rev. 16:8-9), the sun scorches the earth with heat, causing unsaved people, buildings, and a hapless dog to spontaneously combust (Volume 10, pp. 384-385). Carpathia sunbathes in the courtyard away from the wailing “mortals” and their problems (Volume 10, pp. 394-395). Next, during the Fifth Bowl Judgment (Rev. 16:10-11) darkness blots out all sources of light. Nothing works: not sun, moon, stars, matches, light bulbs, car headlamps, etc. (Volume 10, p. 400). Even the saved characters can see no source of light. They see all things in a sepia tone, but the sun, moon, stars, matches, light bulbs, car headlamps, etc. do not shine in their sight. Yet Carpathia glows in the dark, probably in mockery of the Transfiguration. Rayford thinks that the sickly glow is the light of distant hellfire (Volume 11, pp. 32, 52-57).

The reader may well observe that Carpathia always has had supernatural powers because he could hypnotize people. However, brainwashing has never been associated with Christian resurrection. That is a separate belief, plot point, and problem.

As to whether Carpathia’s spirit and soul returned from the afterlife—as opposed to, say, Satan wearing the empty body like a glove—the series shows Carpathia and Satan interacting with each other. Volume 12 alone includes multiple examples. Twice Mac McCullum observes Satan withdrawing from Carpathia (Volume 12, pp. 81-91; 307-311). Whenever they are separated, Carpathia shrivels. “Mac had the feeling that this was what the body of Carpathia would have looked like, had it been moldering in the grave since his assassination three and a half years ago” (Volume 12, pp. 308, also 82). Only here do the authors purport that Satan has reached his limit: he can bestow a resurrection body, but it isn’t an ideal, blessed body. Nevertheless, the ghoulish body lives—despite having been embalmed as noted above. The person inside it lives. Carpathia exhibits intelligence, self-awareness, consciousness, sentience. He flatters; he begs for mercy; he offers ideas. When Satan re-inhabits the body, it plumps up again and looks handsome and healthy (Volume 12, p. 91). Its personality also changes.

There is one more proof. Jesus Christ treats them as separate people. His sorrows over their loss are different sorrows. Their punishments are different punishments. When the indwelt Carpathia is brought before Christ, he (they) “turned his back on Jesus … defiant and bored” (Volume 12, p. 304). He (they) “smirk” at Christ. Jesus says, “Lucifer, leave this man!” and Carpathia shrivels (Volume 12, pp. 307-308). After Jesus reads the charges, Carpathia confesses not only that Jesus is Lord, but that he knows Jesus loved him and that he wasted his life (Volume 12, p. 309). Jesus orders him cast alive into the lake of fire for eternity. Carpathia goes without a struggle, only hiding his face (Volume 12, pp. 310-311). Satan, however, rages all the way to the bottomless pit, to be “bound for a thousand years” (p. 316). He also refuses to acknowledge Jesus as Lord (Volume 12, p. 326). Carpathia and Satan were in the presence of Jesus Christ at the same time, alive, as separate people.

Therefore, yes, in the novels, Nicolae Jetty Antichrist Carpathia did indeed die and become dead. His spirit and soul did indeed depart into the afterlife. His spirit and soul did indeed return from the afterlife. His flesh did indeed become alive again, inhabited again, unable to die ever again. Carpathia did indeed return as a resurrected being rather than a resuscitated one or a revivified one. (“Resuscitation” is what first-responders do. “Revivification” is what Jesus did with four-days-dead Lazarus.) Satan did indeed enter into Carpathia and dwell in him. These events were in fulfillment of the character Tsion Ben-Judah’s interpretation of Rev. 13:10 regarding the manner of death, and of Rev. 13:2-3, 12; 17:8 to return from death. That which Tsion teaches as truth has come true—in the novels.

Having come back from the dead, the indwelt Carpathia tells those who still resist him (Volume 7, p. 388): “If the last three and a half years are your idea of tribulation, wait until you endure the Great Tribulation.”

{End.}

Discussion topics will appear in a separate post: Part 1 of 2, Part 2 of 2.

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Author: The_Old_Maid_of_Potluck

Author of Potluck2point0: The resource formerly known as http://oldmaid.jallman.net (a.k.a. My humongous [technical term] study of "What's behind 'Left Behind'").