Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 333-337
In this fantasy story based on Tim LaHaye’s theology, the renegade rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah unearthed a secret ancient text called the “New Testament.” Stunned by what he found there, Tsion declared that Jesus is the Messiah. This made him the most-wanted man in Israel and caused the Christ-denying Christ-killers of the Israeli government — the only still-extant sovereign state apart from the Antichrist’s One World Government — to slaughter his wife and children and frame him for their murder.
But remember that Tim LaHaye is a staunch friend of Israel. And he loves the Jewish people. Just ask him.
Anyway, after Tsion goes into hiding, Buck Williams comes to his rescue. He helped smuggle Tsion out of Israel and into Jordan. Then he helped smuggle Tsion back into Israel and all the way across the country before smuggling him out again, into the part of the Antichrist’s OWG formerly known as Egypt. They then fled Egypt, just before the Antichrist nuked Cairo, and snuck back into the part of the OWG formerly known as America by flying into Milwaukee after the Antichrist nuked Chicago.
Safely back in the Tribulation-proof suburbs of the former Chicago, Buck and his friends soon realize that the Antichrist is just as obsessed with tracking down Tsion Ben-Judah as the Evil Israeli government is. Nicolae Carpathia has made hunting down this rabbi his top priority (or, at least, his second-highest priority, next to arbitrarily nuking lots of major cities throughout his own OWG).
Why should the Antichrist care about this guy? Who knows? Why did the Antichrist nuke San Francisco? Why did he relocate his OWG capital to the Iraqi desert? Why did he divide his OWG into ten principalities and then cancel the press conference announcing that, forgetting to tell anyone about it later? Why did he decide to unite the world by forcing everyone to speak one language?
The ways of the global potentate are inscrutable and mysterious.
And but so, Tsion isn’t safe, even in the apparently Tribulation-proof suburbs of Chicago. He will have to go into hiding, sequestered into the secret underground shelter that Bruce Barnes had built beneath New Hope Village Church. Bruce kept this shelter a secret even from Loretta and the rest of the New Hope congregation, which is why they all came out to mourn his death and to praise him posthumously as a revered spiritual leader instead of to condemn him as a duplicitous embezzler who siphoned off all their tithes and offerings to shelter himself from the coming calamities that he never got around to warning them about.
The surviving brain trust of the Tribulation Force realize that they have to keep Tsion’s whereabouts a secret from the omnipresent spies of the Global Community and from the evil Israeli agents of the evil Israeli government. So they decide the first step should be to have him attend the huge public gathering of Bruce’s memorial service. And to have him stand up and speak at this event.
Despite Tsion’s photograph being broadcast 24/7 on the Global News Network as the biggest story in the world (the nuking of Cairo, Chicago, London, New York, etc., is passé — last week’s news), only one person recognizes him at the service. And, alas, that one person is the only unsaved person at the church — the nefarious Verna Zee.
Verna threatens to interview Tsion — to provide him with the chance to clear his name against the false charge of murdering his family, and to give him a global platform to present his evangelistic message to the world. She’s some kind of high-ranking editor at Global Weekly, so she’s in a position to make real on that threat.
Fortunately, Buck Williams has a plan to stop her. This plan doesn’t involve Buck using his position as an even-higher-ranking editor at Global Weekly. It involves the simpler expedient of lying to Verna. He tells her she can have her interview with Tsion at 6:30 that night. Then he plans to sneak Tsion into the hidden shelter and, once 6:30 rolls around, shrug and say, “Tsion? Haven’t seen him. No idea where that guy went.”
Buck hopes that his lying to Verna and preventing her from speaking to the greatest evangelist in the world will lead to her accepting Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. That would make life so much easier for Buck and the rest of the Tribulation Force. If Verna only converted like they had, then maybe she’d at last agree to help keep all their secrets secret. Maybe she’d stop trying to use Global Weekly to alert the world about the Bible prophecies about to be fulfilled, or to interview prominent evangelists. And maybe she’d finally start wearing heels more, like a good Christian woman should.
Sneaking Tsion into the shelter would have been impossible be during the memorial service, during which the church was filled with hundreds of people gathered to mourn Bruce Barnes. But after that service, once everyone left and the members of the Tribulation Force were alone there in the church with Tsion, they had a chance to strategize and to come up with a plan for getting Tsion into the shelter downstairs. They decided to come back to the church later that evening, when hundreds of mourners have returned for Bruce’s viewing. During all that hubbub, they’ll sneak Tsion in the back door.
It would be risky, but it just might work — provided they make sure that none of the hundreds gathering there wander off in search of coffee or snacks.
Rayford and the other elders had agreed there would be no more formality at the viewing. No prayer, no message, no eulogies, no nothing. Just a procession of people filing past the coffin and paying their last respects. Someone had suggested opening the fellowship hall for refreshments, but Rayford, having been tipped off by Buck, decided against it. A ribbon was draped across the stairway, from wall to wall, to keep everyone from going downstairs. A sign indicated the viewing would last from four to six p.m.
Who are these “other elders”? We’re not told, but it doesn’t seem to matter anyway since Rayford apparently has the authority to “decide against” them all. (He may no longer attend this church, or live on this continent, but he is an airline pilot — an officer — so he apparently outranks the rest.)
So, with the crucial stair-blocking ribbon in place, it’s now time for Buck Williams to execute his clever plan:
At about five, while a crowd of hundreds slowly moved past the casket in a line that stretched out the front door, through the parking lot, and down the street, Buck wheeled into Loretta’s parking spot with the Range Rover full of people.
“Chloe, I promise this is the last time I take advantage of your ailment and use you as a decoy.”
“A decoy for what? Do you think Carpathia is here and is going to grab you or Tsion?”
Silly Chloe thinks he’s worried about the armies of Evil Israeli spies and OWG stormtroopers scouring the world for Tsion. She doesn’t realize that he’s only worried about one person — the sensibly shod reporter determined to dig up some actual news for the Weekly. Buck’s never going to let that happen.
Rayford had been in the sanctuary since just before four. Now, Buck, Chloe, Amanda, Tsion, and Loretta emerged from the Range Rover. Amanda got on one side of Chloe and Loretta on the other. They helped her up the back steps as Buck opened the door. Buck peeked at the parishioners waiting in line to get into the church. Nearly all ignored his little group. Those who idly watched them seemed to be concentrating on the pretty young newlywed, her ankle cast, her sling, and her cane.
As the three women made their way to the office, planning to view the body when the crowd dissipated, Buck and Tsion slipped away. When Buck entered the office about 20 minutes later, Chloe asked, “Where’s Tsion?”
“He’s around,” Buck said.
Mission accomplished. As far as Verna Zee or any of the Antichrist/Israeli spies are concerned, Tsion has just disappeared from the face of the Earth. The last time anybody saw him he was at some church in the suburbs of the ruins of Chicago, but now he’s simply gone, and no one will have any idea where to start looking for him.