The Vision, pp. 24-36
So. Cheyenne Freeman is helping her mother, Hope, make magical mystery cure brews out of berries, while an awful man—Derek—is sitting out back plotting to steal their brew and rape Cheyenne, and listening in via a device of some sort planted in their workroom. Meanwhile, Asher is wandering all around on the ridges above the valley with a strong feeling that something is very, very wrong.
This part is almost painful to read because everything would be better if Asher would just come down from the ridge to the house. The only people in the compound are Cheyenne and Hope. If Asher is so very worried, why doesn’t he come down and stay close to them? Asher has been in the area for a few months, by the way—I had a couple questions about that last week. He works for The Last Publishers. (Remember, they’re creating graphic novel retellings of a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, and shipping these books all over the world to win insta-conversions.)
So. When we left off, Hope was telling Cheyenne that when the China factory comes online, they’ll be able to sell their magic potion brew and make bank. She calls it “the most amazing cure the world has seen since the Garden of Eden’s Tree of Life.” And remember, Derek is listening in!
So then we get this:
The Eavesdropper gave a soft whistle as he listened to Hope outline the properties of the brew. “That’s pretty good, Hopey-Dopey. So this is why the judge is working so hard to take control.”
Whispering, he sneered his mockery. “Can’t have a bunch of Jews who pretend to be Christians getting filthy rich. Boy, has the Brotherhood got a surprise coming for you clueless dummies.”
Malachi Freeman—the book’s Michael Pearl character—is not Jewish. He’s just named Malachi, because some Christian parents give their kids names from the Old Testament. But we’re told several times that some people think Malachi is Jewish, so that must be what Derek is referencing here.
The guy who is Jewish is Rob Cohen, their contact who is working on the China side of things. We’re not given much background on Cohen, except that he had cancer and was about to die, and then Hope put him on a heavy dose of her brew, and he miraculously recovered. He then used his business connections (because yes, he was a businessman of some sort) to start get a plant in China up and running to mass produce the brew for them. That project is currently in progress.
Oh, you know who else is Jewish? (Or was, at least.) Asher Joel.
Anyway! Derek is a white supremacist and he’s in the Ku Klux Klan. The judge is related to him, and is also in the Klan. Everyone who is anyone in this county is in the Klan. The Klan is trying to use the legal mechanisms of the town to gain possession of the Freemans’ land—and the magical brew.
The rumor around town is that Malachi was very sick and then was cured by one of Hope’s brews. I think it’s known that Cohen was also cured? The point is this: Hope has some magic brew, and the local heavyweights—Klan members all—want it. Which is why Derek is here.
“The judge won’t mind if I help myself to Hope’s private stash. The old man knows my arthritis has been acting up. He’ll understand. And he won’t care what happens to that hot little squaw.”
Why is Asher still up on the ridge??
So. Cheyenne and Hope go back to talking about the magical brew.
“Somehow, I think by the will of God, we have happened upon a combination that closely approximates the properties of the Tree of Life.”
If someone had said this to me back when I was evangelical, I would have said they were blaspheming. The Tree of Life was destroyed for a reason. It was destroyed because after the fall, God did not want humans to be able to live forever. Would it not be wrong try to recreate what God intentionally destroyed? This whole subplot of Debi’s book is just bizarre to me.
I think what’s going on is that Debi has an herb fetish and would like to imagine that she could create an herbal remedy this powerful, so since this is fiction and all, she threw that fantasy in.
There’s a lot of swapping back and forth in here. We switch to Asher, who is having flashbacks of a “bombed-out Spanish church just two blocks down from Louise’s diner”:
The strong jaw clenched with anger and repulsion as the memories of the odor of scorched human flesh assailed him. Americans were not as proficient at gathering up the scattered remains as were the Israelis. “God Almighty, there’s going to be a judgement! God … I’m glad.”
Whoever said Asher read like a white supremacist getting ready to bomb some Mosques was right. His statement here sounds downright threatening.
Back to Hope and Cheyenne. Hope says that if all goes as planned with the brew, they’ll have plenty of money to fund their printing and other operations, and that they’ll “prioritize” converting Muslims.
At the mention of Muslims, Cheyenne’s knees felt weak. A cold shudder shook her insides. She looked down at her hands, trying to hide her dread. Daily there was news of bombings, personal assaults, and even poisoning from the hands of Muslim terrorists. Muslims were now focusing more of their attacks on churches and prominent Christians. Certainly this was nothing new. It had been happening all over the world; it was just new to America.
These people are definitely not white supremacists. Definitely.
For the last three weeks she had noticed an Arabic looking man hanging around. He seemed to be watching her local store, the Herb Den. Now, with her parents on the verge of spreading the gospel to the entire Muslim world in their own language … it was tantamount to a death sentence.
I am baffled by this apparent assumption that there are no Arabic translations of the Bible in Muslim countries. And no access to Christian websites. Look, I understand that in some Muslim countries, leaving Islam is punishable by death. I get that there are honor killings. But this is just so over the top.
I knew a Muslim girl when I was little, in an immigrant family. She lived next door. I looked her up a few years ago. After college, she got a job at an NGO doing civil rights work. This painting of all Muslims as evil dangerous thugs who stalk people and blow them up is racist. Period.
But! Back to Cheyenne’s musings:
Just this past week Main Street Market changed hands. It now was owned and run by a Saudi family.
Oh noes they own the grocery store!
Cheyenne’s breath came in shallow gulps as she remembered the Muslim men who sat around a table at the back of the store, watching her as she walked in for a purchase. She hadn’t been back. Driving 15 miles for gas was not practical, but it was what had to be done.
Yep. Our heroes are the furthest thing from white supremacists.
Quick point of order. Didn’t we already establish that the town is run by the Klan? Wouldn’t white supremacists and scary brown terrorist Muslims just … self destruct? Why in the heck are both groups focusing on these Christians in their little out of the way valley and herb store, instead of, I don’t know, each other? There are white supremacists in town who later burn down a black family’s home, but they don’t care about Muslims buying up the whole town? Or at least the grocery store?
I don’t know, man, it’s weird.
“Mom, I need to know … will there be time for me to have what you and Dad have had? There’s just so much bad stuff going on, like the Muslims bombing everything and everybody. Will I have time to enjoy being loved and loving like you and dad?”
I, too, had this question!
Well, not about Muslims. It was about the rapture. I used to worry the rapture would happen before I had time to grow up, get married, and have kids, since everyone said it would happen any day now. What I didn’t realize is that people had been saying that for 2,000 years.
Ok, back to Asher. As he looks over the valley, his eyes keep coming back to Cheyenne’s pink truck.
“Lord God, I have committed myself to seeing that the gospel is published to every tribe and nation. Lord, I know that with a wife comes a baby carriage. Those things would slow me down, but, God, I really would like to have a good wife. God, you know my heart. If I need to stay single, so be it. But, Lord, that gal … it’s getting harder and harder to resist her.” Smiling as he treated in a deep shaky breath, he threw back his head and shouted in the morning stillness, “LOVE TO HAVE THAT WOMAN!”
Uh. Okay dude. Find a hobby.
Back to Derek. Uh. Nothing happens. He’s annoyed with their dog. He offers it a donut. He chokes on the donut? He being Derek. I don’t know, it’s weird, man! Nothing happens.
Oh wait, something does happen—Asher hears Derek’s cough and shout an expletive. He’s trying to figure out where the noise came from.
And that’s all you get from Asher, because we’re back to Hope and Cheyenne now! And it’s going to get weird!
This section is titled “Seven Women, One Man,” in case you were wondering. Which, you probably weren’t. Anyway, Cheyenne has a question:
“So if a lot of your research information came from Israel, and the best berries can be find there, why haven’t they come up with a brew that can bring healing like the one you have?”
Frankly, the only reason these questions are being asked on this random morning when Cheyenne has already been working for her mother for years is that you, the reader, are here to be instructed.
“Who’s to say they haven’t? They have the added advantage of being in the part of the world where the Garden of Eden was located, which is where the Tree of Life once grew. There could be seeds or even a tree still growing that no one has discovered.”
No. No, there could not.
And this woman calls herself a Bible believer?
The young woman was shaking her head in disbelief. “No … I can’t believe the Tree of Life could still be here on earth. God kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden to keep them from eating, and … well, it doesn’t say it was removed from earth. But it is too fantastical to believe.”
“Why not?” Hope challenged. “I have pestered Malachi to take me to northern Iraq so I could nose around. I almost think I could recognize it, because I would know how the leaves would smell. I have worked with so many healing herbs, you just get where you know the healing chemistry by the smell.”
Sure, lady. Sure.
“You’re probably right, Shy, but at least we have a blend that in some small measure approximates the healing power of the Tre of Life. I bet the Jewish scientists have what we have, at the very least. Yo know the Israelis. They are always two steps ahead of the rest of the world in so many areas. They must … in order to survive.”
Why do I suddenly feel really uncomfortable?
“Besides,” Hope continued, “if they did have something as life-giving as what I’ve found, why should they give it away? Most of the world wants to blow them to smithereens. WHwy let their enemies know about something that is guaranteed to keep them alive and healthy? Good health is the most valued treasure, far greater than oil.”
Oh. That’s why.
I’m reminded of the setup of the Left Behind books:
Dr. Rosenzweig is named Global Weekly’s Man Of The Year due to his development of The Eden Project, a new synthetic fertilizer that causes the dry Israeli deserts to become rich, fertile croplands. The development of this fertilizer promises to end world famine and pushes Israel as a chief exporter of rare and henceforth expensive agricultural products; thus, the formula becomes a highly sought commodity. The enormous wealth brought by the fertilizer and related agriculture-led export boom also lands Israel in a far better bargaining position than the oil-rich Arab world in the Middle East peace process, and Israel has made peace with all immediate Arab neighbors on Israel’s terms.
Unfortunately, Rosenzweig’s scientific breakthrough has made Israel a target for hostile states eclipsed in power and influence, particularly the Russians, who joined with the Libyans, Ethiopians and some other Middle Eastern countries to launch an all-out strike just months before the Rapture. However, fire from the Russians proves perfectly ineffective and the attackers were repulsed and destroyed by God without causing one casualty in all of Israel, while the invading military is completely eradicated.
Eventually, United Nations Secretary-General and Antichrist Nicolae Carpathia brokers a worldwide peace treaty for Israel in exchange for making The Eden Project available to other nations. This helps usher Carpathia onto the world political stage, and officially inaugurates the Tribulation.
The idea that Israel could develop a magic fertilizer that turns deserts into fields of grain—or a magic herbal brew that heals any ailment—and then either keep it to themselves or hold it as a bargaining chip feels at least vaguely anti-semitic. When there was even a whiff of the idea that Trump wanted to keep a COVID vaccine exclusively for the United States, people freaked out. It’s widely considered unethical to keep discovery that would vastly improve the world’s health and wellbeing to yourself.
When I talked this through yesterday with Petticoat Philosopher, a reader and moderator on this blog, she said that the idea that the Israelis might be hiding a wonder cure for all the world’s ailments suggests plays into the anti-semitic idea that while the Jews “have the best scientists and doctors and everything, but you can’t trust them. They are sneaky and shifty and tribal.” So, yes. That.
And now it gets … weirder.
The young girl quickly scanned the Scripture that was on the screen while her mother continued to talk.
To be clear, “young girl” refers to Cheyenne. She is sometimes referred to as a “young woman” and sometimes as a “young girl.” She is twenty-two. This is interesting editing.
“Some of the more religious Jews believe the second half of Isaiah 28 indicates there will be a scourge over a good portion of the world that seems to sicken mostly just the male population, but will not touch the Israeli men. Kinda like what happened when all the firstborn males of Egypt died, but the destroyer passed over the Jews, leaving them alive.”
Cheyenne asks how a disease could affect men, and not women—and how it could spare Jewish men. Hope is not put off! She has Answers.
“How indeed? Hormones could be the key facto rotate causes a disease to affect only the male population. As far as not hitting Jewish men, it is my theory that blood type has something to do with it. Unlike the rest of the world’s population, many Jews are B-positive, especially those from Germany. Different blood types have certain strengths and weaknesses. It is known that B-positive has stronger immune properties, which would protect against strange diseases.”
This sounds like bullshit.
“On the other hand, there is the possibility hat the berry brew is the deciding factor in the survival of the Jewish males. It is possible that the Jews will have the berry brew readily available to them. Maybe it’s both the blood type and the brew that helps them survive.”
Uh. Sure. Sure, Debi. Sure.
Anyway, according to verse 19, this consumption kills in one day. There appears to be so much death and blood that it takes a flood to cleanse the land.”
“Does it say why God sends this plague?” Cheyenne asked.
Hope bit the inside of her cheek, trying to remember what Malachi had taught her.
How very typical.
“The Scripture suggests that it has something to do with a covenant or agreement between two political groups that decide to take over Jerusalem. God says this covenant will be disannuled due to the overflowing scourge.”
I don’t like the sound of any of this.
“Hey, here it is; look at this. Isaiah chapter 4 talks about seven women taking hold of one man.”
Long story short, Hope explains that the verse says that seven women will take hold of one man and demand to be polygamists, so that they will have a husband, due to the shortage of men. They must be talking about this plague! But here’s the thing. Weren’t we already told that the mysterious plague comes from Isaiah 28? Now we’re going back to Isaiah chapter 4 and somehow claiming it’s about the same thing? This is the problem that happens when evangelicals get all up in Bible prophecy.
Hope next turns to Zechariah 8. She tells Cheyenne that it says the Jewish people “were a curse to the whole world, but now they will be considered a blessing.” Hope explains:
“When has Israel ever been considered a blessing to the world? But if they had a way to bring healing to the world … like a berry brew … and their men were in good shape when a goodly portion of the world’s male population had been decimated? Well?”
Oh. My. GOD.
Something just feels so wrong about all of this.
It reminds me of all the books written in the 70s about the role the Soviet Union was to play in the end times. And we all know how that went.
I’ll leave you with this:
“I read yesterday that the President said Jerusalem is the International City. He said that the middle 3 letters of Jerusalem are USA, like that somehow made America responsible for seeing to it that Jerusalem becomes the international capital city.”
That holds up. It sounds like something Trump would say.
And that’s it for this week. Derek is still out back choking on his donut, and Asher is still on the ridge trying to figure out where the noise of Derek choking is coming from. We could keep going to see what happens to them, but Hope and Cheyenne’s prophecy nonsense has me wiped for the week.
Tune in next week to see Hope resurrect a dead dog.
Actually, tune in next week to see whether I’m joking about that.
Or, tune in next week to learn that for all the talk about her berry brew, Hope actually has an even more secret berry brew that would end the existence of death itself—which is why they have to hide it.
Or who knows, maybe I’m joking about that too!
Mostly just tune in next week, because this book is wild.
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