Monday, January 31, 2011

Chapter Eight

CHAPTER EIGHT

Israeli Air Space
Thursday, November 12
4:30 p.m., Local Time

Moshe glanced out his canopy toward his partner, tucked smartly off his right wing. Rueben had spoken hardly a word since Moshe broached the subject of Biblical prophecy, and that was a bothersome dilemma for the new believer. He’d never had to deal with the realities of being rejected for his faith. This was a first, if rejection it was. Whichever the case, Moshe was aware of his need to concentrate on the mission. Turkey seemed to be overstepping its bounds, and Dagger Flight was tasked with correcting that misstep.
For the last two decades, Turkey had been a friend, one of the few allies of Israel. Deemed a moderate Islamic democracy, the Turks had relished the idea of being included in all things western. From being included in the NATO alliance, to being a shirt-tail cousin to the European Union, they were in. Western affluence, especially the corresponding ties to America, was craved by a people long considered a step-child of Europe.
But Turkey was just modern enough to be included—just backwards enough to be kept at arms length. Because the West had been partial to Israel, Turkey followed suit and bit its tongue, even when the rest of the Muslim world harassed or chastised the Jewish State. But now, that state of semi-cooperation exited no more. The Palestinian issue, and Israel’s treatment of radical Muslims in Gaza, had finally taken a toll on the Turks. When the West failed to halt an Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip in early 2009, Turkey had reached the end of its ability to walk a fence. It was time to begin exploring other options, namely the growing Russian coalition.
There were many advantages to enjoy with the Russians, advantages that outweighed western affluence. One of these consisted of energy. Russia now controlled all natural gas and crude-oil pipelines from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. As most of those lines passed through Turkey, a natural inclination to work with Russia brought about a genuine partnership. An added benefit was a generous provision of armaments and spare parts. A win-win alliance had been created. Further, a pull toward Iranian-styled Islam added an element of dogmatism that only compounded the cultural differences, and as a result, Israel and the West were left hanging in the breeze.
Now, a Turkish spy ship was doing the bidding of its new coalition masters by playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse off the Israeli coast. The ship was laden with an electronic capability that gave it several options. A powerful radar array allowed observes to keep track of all Israeli Air Force operations with pinpoint accuracy. Eavesdropping technology provided the ability to intercept cellular phone traffic, as well as military communications. It all spelled trouble, and Israeli intelligence believed the ship’s presence went far beyond the scope of peace-keeping. Moshe and Rueben had been tasked with removing the ship from the surface of the Mediterranean.
Only moments before, a touch-and-go procedure had taken place on the Ramat David runway. Another pair of F-16s had rotated into the air just as Moshe and Rueben had touched down. But their touchdown had been short-lived. Almost immediately, Dagger Flights IFF transponders had been disengaged, and a ground hugging altitude had been assumed. The point was to place the Lightning aircraft below the terrain and keep it there until the last possible moment of attack. That meant flying through shallow valleys and behind low hilly ranges all the way to the coast. The spy ship would only notice the take-off of one set of F-16s in the process. That group had gone high altitude and south, leaving Moshe and Rueben free of electronic detection.
Moshe scanned the Horizontal Situational Display above his left knee and pinpointed the ship’s position in reference to their current heading. They were skirting the southern base of Mount Carmel and would soon be exposing themselves over open water.
“Frisbee—Dagger—eyeballs are on target. I see no air activity. We should be clear to begin the attack in about thirty seconds,” Moshe transmitted.
“Roger—Dagger, I’m ready to get in the game.”
“On my mark, climb to angels twenty and take a heading of two-seven-zero degrees west. I will stay low and drive straight in. Once I loose my Mavericks, keep an eye out for ship-launched SAMS. Then swing around to the north and watch for any bogeys from the north, copy?”
“Copy—Dagger. I do angels twenty on your call. Flush those guys into the sea,” Rueben responded.
Moshe turned slightly left to avoid a tall communications tower. He then swung north toward coastline. The resort section of Haifa was just ahead, but no tourist activity existed due to the nuclear detonation over Haifa’s seaport on the other side of the mountain.
“Okay Frisbee—break in three, two, one—now,” Moshe ordered.
“Frisbee is heading west.”
Moshe disengaged his TFR, Terrain Following Radar, and pushed his throttle to full military power. His air speed climbed to nearly five hundred knots. With a twitch of his thumb he called up an arms menu on the Heads-Up-Display and selected two AGM-Maverick missiles. The Turkish ship was beyond Israeli territorial waters at just under twenty miles distant, but he could hear the growl of the missile’s radar as he electronically locked onto the target. Ten seconds later, Moshe loosed the twin killers and watched them sink the target.
Just then, Rueben’s voice broke into Moshe’s headset. “Dagger—we’ve got company, and they’re lighting me up.”

Plattsville, Missouri
Thursday, 6:45 a.m., Local Time

The twiddling ringtone of Ty’s phone sounded three times before he finally broke out of his sleepy fog and answered. “Hello,” he growled, trying to decide why someone would be calling at this hour?
“Tyler James Dempsey?” The voice was gruff.
“Yes. With whom am I speaking?” Ty sat up quickly.
“Matthew Simmons, US State Department, Office of Diplomatic Relations. Pardon me sir, but I need to confirm that you are actually Tyler James Dempsey. You will be asked a series of questions. I need precise answers, understood?”
“Yes, but before I answer you questions, how do I know you are who you say you are? Things are bad enough in the world. I really don’t need my identity stolen.” Ty had no interest in playing games if the call wasn’t legit.
“Fair enough. Ask away.”
“Okay. Why are you calling,” Ty asked.
“That’s simple enough. I will not say where it has come from, but the Secretary of State has been queried with an odd request. The foreign ministry of a nation, which shall remain nameless until I can confirm your identity, is seeking diplomatic status for you and one Blake Sieler.”
“Diplomatic status?”
“Yes sir. As neither you, nor Ms. Sieler, currently hold US passports, the mechanism to be used is a type of temporary dual citizenship. The grounds for the issuance will be that of diplomatic service to a foreign power,” the Simmons explained. “It is similar to being a lobbyist in the halls of our Congress. However, in this case, you will become a quasi mediator between governments, at least in theory.”
“We’re talking Israel here, aren’t we?”
“I presume you are satisfied with who I say I am?”
“Yes Mr. Simmons. Ask away.”
“Very well. Your father, James served in the United States Army. What were his years of service in southeast Asia?”
“He was in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971,” Ty answered.
“Your mother’s first name is what?”
Ty caught his breath. The emotional pain of his mother’s death still hovered beneath the surface. Trying to control himself, he hesitated in providing the simple information.
“Sir?” Simmons interjected.
“Sorry. My mother’s name was Martha. She passed away last Friday,” Ty whispered.
“My condolences, Mr. Dempsey. The information that I have confirms that fact, but I needed to hear it from you directly. I apologize,” Simmons stated, sounding genuinely contrite. “I believe I have established that you are Tyler James Dempsey. Please jot down the following details.”
Ty reached for the pen and pad he always kept on the night stand next to his bed. “Ready.”
“This Saturday, two days from now, at six o’clock p.m. Central Standard Time, an Israeli Avocet Projet will arrive at the abandoned American Airlines rework facility at Kansas City International Airport. You and Ms. Sieler will be admitted into the facility through the 112th Street entrance. You will be directed as to where you are to park your vehicle. You will then board the Israeli jet at precisely six thirty. At that time you will sign a State Department waiver and complete the necessary paperwork authorizing you to assume diplomatic status. You will then receive a Diplomatic Passport from the US Government containing all required documentation for entrance into Israel. You will then proceed to an undeclared location in Israel. Do you have any questions, Mr. Dempsey?” The information was given matter-of-factly, no fanfare, no frills.
“No sir,” Ty responded. A lot of “you will thens” had just been recited. It was starting to sound like a James Bond script.
“Very well. For security purposes, there will be no further communication from this or any other governmental department. Do not share this information with anyone other than your closest confidants. Farewell Mr. Dempsey.” The line went dead.
Ty ran his hands through his hair and immediately felt a shiver run down his spine. What had been impossible had just become reality. He had no idea what high-powered contacts Ben Sherett had in Israel, but they were obviously important enough to move mountains. In a time of national tragedy for both countries this should not be happening. Yet there he sat, faced with the fulfillment of two dreams, a marriage to the most wonderful woman on the planet, and a ministry trip to Israel. It was enough to move the shiver from his spine to his feet. Things had to be done, and done right away. At the top of the new list was a call to Blake.

The Mediterranean Sea
Same Time Local

Four MiG 29 Fulcrum fighter jets were blazing outward from the Syrian coastal base of Afis. Their dual afterburners were fully engaged, and their attack radars had locked onto Moshe and Rueben. The question was whether the pilots were Syrian or Russian. Whichever, the MiGs were now seventy miles out and closing quickly.
“I’m being interrogated for missile lock, Dagger. They look mad,” radioed Rueben. “The statement was actually a request for permission to engage. Rueben’s position was more advantageous than Moshe’s, and his taking the lead was the right call. He’d proven himself ready.
“I’m coming up behind you at about five mile Frisbee. You are free to engage—repeat—you are free to engage,” Moshe gave the order.
“Roger—Frisbee going hot.”
Moshe thumbed his throttle and injected fuel into the exhaust of his engine, thereby igniting his afterburner. The Lightning’s velocity climbed beyond mach one and continued to gain speed. Though his wingman would be the first to fire on the oncoming MiGs, he wanted to be in the mix as quickly as possible, if nothing more than to cover his partner. As the g-forces on his body began to lessen, he selected two AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles.
“I’m locked onto bogeys one and two with AMRAAMs. The other two MiGs are at their leader’s six and going low,” Rueben transmitted.
“Roger—Frisbee—I’ll take bogey three and four. Fire whenever you get the itch.”
A steady growl sounded in Moshe’s headset as both missiles’ fire-and-forget radars acquired their designated targets. The closure difference between the attack range of the AMRAAMS and that of the enemy missiles would be about ten miles. At the current rate, that would be about five seconds.
“Frisbee—Fox Three, Fox Three—missiles away. I’m breaking right in three…two…one…mark.” Rueben turned sharply to his right and dove for the deck.
“Dagger One—Fox Three. I’m right behind you Frisbee. I read no incoming missiles.”
“Roger, boss. How do you want to play it?”
Moshe looked at his HSD screen and saw the two sets of MiGs breaking in multiple directions. Even if they all survived the AMRAAMs, the Lightnings would most likely have to deal with just the two breaking toward them in their attempt to escape.
“Let’s stay low to the coastline and back off the throttle,” Moshe responded.
“You mean check for swimmers?”
“I mean watch for a counter attack. Those guys may be Russians. They’re trickier than the Syrians.”
Moshe nudged his fighter ahead of Rueben’s left wing and assumed the lead position. Once in place he turned his attention to the drama unfolding about twenty miles north. One by one, the flashing blips of the AMRAAM missiles converged with the dots on the screen. They all died.
“That’s it, Frisbee, let’s head for home,” Moshe ordered.


Jimmy Root Jr
Author: DISTANT THUNDER and the AWARD WINNING MAGOG RISING
Books One and Two of the Lightning Chronicles

$15 per Copy...SIGNED!
Buy several for the same shipping rate as ONE! Give them as gifts.
OR
Send a check to Jimmy Root Jr PO Box 112, Smithville, MO 64089
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MAGOG RISING
is the READERS FAVORITE 2010 National Writing Competition SILVER MEDALIST in the Christian Fiction Genre
ORDER NOW
Visit:
http://www.lightningchronicles.com/
Toll Free at 1866 909-2665
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chapter Seven

CHAPTER SEVEN

Haifa, Israel
Wednesday, November 11
4:00 p.m., Local Time

The moment was a first for Moshe, something he’d never imagined in his wildest fantasy. Just ahead of him, climbing up the stairwell to Pastor Ben and Ingrid’s apartment, was his wife Tasha. Both had a Bible tucked in hand. He couldn’t quite see her face, but the aura that surrounded her was one of pure joy. Her dream had definitely come true.
Moshe had no idea what to expect at his first ever Bible study, at least as a believer in Yeshua, but an excitement stirred inside him. It was nearly the same feeling that came just before applying his F-16’s afterburner. There was just enough of the unknown to make the moment exhilarating. But apprehension was present as well. Rarely had he placed himself in a position in which he could easily prove himself clueless. Bandying the scriptures with a bunch of Messiah -believing Jews presented a new level of vulnerability. That was distasteful to someone who depended on the opposite.
As they reached the final landing, Tasha turned to her husband. “Moshe, you are going to love this,” she beamed.
“Are you sure? I’m going to look like a schmuck in there.”
“No, you will not. You are just new to the faith. All of us were,” she giggled.
“Hey, you think this is funny. I’m scared out of my mind,” he glared.
She knew her husband well enough to see through the act. He wasn’t upset, just nervous. “Listen Moshe, these folks are our new family. Ben will gladly answer whatever questions you ask. He counts you as his friend, so don’t worry about being embarrassed.”
Tasha knocked at the door before he could respond. He smiled at the irony. Here he was, a squadron commander in the Israeli Air Force and a combat ace, being led by a diminutive, hazel-eyed, spunky woman into a Bible study. He’d follow her anywhere, and she knew it. He’d never been able to resist her, at least for any length of time.
“I’m a lap dog,” he grunted as the door was opened by Ben Sherett.
Tasha turned and looked at him inquisitively. “What my love?” She asked.
“Nothing, just mumbling,” Moshe smiled.
Tasha was right. Moshe felt nothing but warmth from the ten other’s who’d gathered in the pastor’s small living room.
The session began with members of the group sharing the names of friends and family, people who desperately needed prayer. Moshe was amazed at how heartfelt and sincere the petitions were. It didn’t matter that several of the names mentioned were of Arabs. To these believers, every hurting person, Jew, Palestinian, or of otherwise, were on an equal playing field. All were worthy of being lifted before Yeshua. All were equal in God’s eyes, and the group reflected His great love. In the process, he found his heart stirred and his lips moving to the flow of intercession. Their act of love was just as selfless as any he’d demonstrated while placing himself in harm’s way. People had to be defended, whether it was through prayer or by twenty millimeter rounds blazing through an F-16’s cannon. The only difference was that in prayer, no one was being injured, maimed, or killed.
The lesson Ben taught ended up being much easier to grasp than Moshe had expected. What had once been confusing to him now seemed quite simple. Moshe found himself fascinated by the sheer audacity of God’s plan, an all-or-nothing plan that relied solely on love for fulfillment. God gave his all so that man, who had nothing to offer, might simply believe and live. Through the course of the study, Bible verses jumped off the page with truth and meaning. Moshe wondered how he’d been blind for so long, especially with a wife who’d lived it out before him for more than two years.
But something else stood out to Moshe. Ingrid had spoken hardly a word the entire time. Tasha noticed it too, indicating her puzzlement by a slightly wrinkled eyebrow. Ingrid hadn’t prayed, nor had she participated in Ben’s teaching. In fact, she’d barely made eye contact with anyone, and that was totally out of character. The only thing Moshe could surmise was that something was seriously wrong. When the time came for everyone to start leaving for home, Moshe decided he owed it to his friends to make sure they were okay. After Ben had shown the last of the members to the door, Moshe stood from his seat. He made no move to leave.
“Ben, Ingrid, I may be out of place, but something is obviously wrong,” Moshe stated bluntly. He knew no other way to broach the subject.
Ben was taken aback, but recovered quickly. “What makes you say that, Moshe?”
“I don’t know, other than the fact that Ingrid barely spoke a word all evening, and that she has this far-off look in her eyes. I may be new to this Christianity stuff, but I know what fear looks like. I can see it all over her. So, what is going on?”
Moshe could see that his friend didn’t quite know what to do. The man was practically squirming, so Moshe decided to throw him a bit of rope. “Look, if it is none of my business, that’s fine. I understand the concepts of need-to-know and top secret. I work with it every day. But if there is something eating at you, I may be able to help.” He was afraid that some disease had been discovered, or maybe a relative was in trouble. The least he could was be a listening ear in return for the incredible patience the two had shown him. He had no way of knowing how far off base he actually was.
Ben motioned for Moshe and Tasha to take a seat. He then sat beside his wife and reached for her hand. The look that flew between them was one of silent consent. He took a deep breath and began. “Guys, this will be the last time we see each other for a couple of weeks, probably longer.”
Tasha stiffened in response. She was about to speak when Moshe gently placed his hand on her wrist. Neither said a word.
“In the next few days, a friend of mine from the United States will be arriving,” Ben said while stroking his wife’s hand. “He will be taking over my ministry for time, just while I’m gone. But don’t worry, the guy loves the Lord, and he loves Israel too. He’ll do a great job, plus, Ingrid will still be here for you both.”
Moshe heard Ingrid’s sniffle. None of what was happening made any sense.
“Alright, that’s a shock,” Moshe responded. “May I ask why?”
Ingrid couldn’t hold it back any longer and began to cry. Tasha rose and went to her friend while Moshe locked eyes with Ben. He waited.
Three minutes later, Moshe’s mouth was wide open in astonishment. An entirely new elevation of respect for his friend had just been reached.

Ramat David Air Base
Thursday, November 12
10:00 a.m., Local Time

Moshe sat drinking a hot cup of coffee and mulling over what Ben told him when Rueben Cohen walked into the room. Moshe’s wingman was tall, dark, relatively handsome, and the man seemed to have a perpetual smirk on his face. Moshe shook his head as Rueben sat down opposite him. “Ay, Rueben, you drive me crazy?”
“What do you mean? I’m innocent of whatever you’re thinking.”
“Can’t you stop grinning? Don’t you know we’re in it up to our elbows? We’re in a war, man!”
Rueben’s smirk converted into a grin. “And that, my aging Captain, is why I am enjoying life. I’ve got an airplane and something to shoot at. What more is there? Plus, I’m not tied down to a female like you. I’m not feeling any age in my bones, also like you. That only leaves one thing, freedom and bliss. In fact, I’m not even seeking the meaning of life.”
“Lieutenant, you are pathetic. First, I love my female. Second, I’m not old, just older than you. And third, I’ve found the meaning of life, and it happens to be freedom and bliss!”
Moshe’s last statement suddenly captured the attention of the young, carefree pilot.
“You’ve found the meaning of life? What might that be?”
Moshe leaned back in his chair and clasped his hands behind his head. “Rueben, have you ever considered that everything that’s happening has been pre-arranged? Like we’re all just part of a plan that’s much bigger than we are?”
Rueben lost his smirk and squirmed in his chair. “Okay, what’s going on? Has your tree dropped a fig? Are you getting enough rest? Because it sounds to me like you’ve gone over the edge, sir.” Rueben twirled his finger around his ear in the universal sign for crazy.
Moshe laughed. He knew much of Rueben’s care-free attitude was simply a projection, a fa├žade that kept him clear of any serious relationships or real questions about his life. It was time to exercise this new-found faith, even it confirmed to his wingman that he’d lost his mind.
“No, I’m not luney. I’m just asking. What if I could show you how this has all been written? Did you know the characters in this drama have already been revealed?”
Rueben locked eyes with Moshe. “You are being serious, aren’t you?”
“Sure am. A friend of mine showed it to me. Everything suddenly makes sense.”
“You sound like a conspiracy kook,” Rueben stated. But he respected Moshe and his abilities enough to keep his ears open.
“I may be nuts, but this is not a conspiracy. Conspiracies are hidden. This stuff has been revealed. Did you know the Torah tells us exactly which countries are going to invade Israel, and why?”
“What?”
“Really, the countries are listed. That includes the nation leading the coalition. In fact, the basic time frame is given as well.”
“Wait a minute. You’re not going to pull a Bible out on me, are you?” Rueben was getting nervous.
“Why not? The Bible comes from right here in Israel. It was written mostly by Jews. It’s about us. But no, I’m not going to pull out a Bible. I’m just telling you, so relax.” Moshe enjoyed how he’d just removed his wingman’s smirk.
“Okay, I’ll bite. What does it say?” Rueben crossed his arms, challenging Moshe to prove what he’d just said.
“In a book called Ezekiel, it says that a Russian coalition will be put together for the purpose of invading Israel. The members are listed. They are Persia, Libya, Turkey, the Central Asian Republics, and the Sudan. God said he would put a hook in their mouths and draw them to the mountains of Israel.”
“When is this fishing expedition supposed to take place?” Rueben was shaken, but was trying hard not to show it. Sarcasm was his only defense.
“Now that’s the interesting part,” Moshe explained. “Ezekiel foretold a day when the Jews would re-occupy the Promised Land, and would turn it into a great place to live. He even prophesied how the people would be united, and it would be given the ancient name of Israel. Sometime after that event, the Russians and their pals would invade. Only God knows why.”
“And then?” Rueben asked.
“Well, that’s the funny part. God pulls the corks out of the mountaintops, dumps some hail and brimstone from the sky, and then sends fire down from heaven to consume them.”
Moshe could see his partner’s look of disbelief. He remembered his own reaction to the story when Tasha shared it with him. He could easily relate to Rueben’s skepticism. “Look, I thought it all sounded like science fiction the first time I heard it. But that was before it started happening, before the Russians put together their little peace-keeping mission. Rueben, it’s real.”
Rueben said nothing, just stared at him, still uncertain of Moshe’s sincerity. After several seconds, he looked at his watch. “Captain, I’d like to hear more, but it’s time for the mission briefing. We gotta go,” he said as he slid his chair back and stood.
“If you want to hear more, I’ll do one better after we get off work. I’ll show you. Agreed?” Moshe wasn’t ready to let Rueben off the hook. Rueben just looked at him and walked off.


Jimmy Root Jr
Author: DISTANT THUNDER and the AWARD WINNING MAGOG RISING
Books One and Two of the Lightning Chronicles

$15 per Copy...SIGNED!
Buy several for the same shipping rate as ONE! Give them as gifts.
OR
Send a check to Jimmy Root Jr PO Box 112, Smithville, MO 64089
(add $5.00 for shipping)

MAGOG RISING
is the READERS FAVORITE 2010 National Writing Competition SILVER MEDALIST in the Christian Fiction Genre
ORDER NOW
Visit:
http://www.lightningchronicles.com/
Toll Free at 1866 909-2665
Or use the above address to send a check for $18.00 (includes shipping) and ask for Magog Rising...or get both books....SIGNED!
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chapter Six

CHAPTER SIX

Jerusalem
Tuesday, November 10
4:00 a.m., Local Time

When Ben suggested that Ty Dempsey call him back when a decision was made, no matter the hour, he hadn’t expected the phone to ring at four in the morning. But there it was. Incredibly, the young American pastor sensed God’s hand in the arrangement. Gracing it all was Ty’s announcement that the stay in Haifa would also serve as an impromptu honeymoon. The guy was getting married. How appropriate. It matched the other crazy aspects to the last few days. He only hoped Hannah Lira would be as open to a pre-dawn rattle of the phone.
Ben rousted himself out of the dorm room bunk and walked to a small window that overlooked the southern reaches of the Kidron Valley. Most of the view was blocked by a stand of cedars. But high up on the hillside, lights marked the outskirts of Bethany. Another day was beginning, and people were getting an early start. He found it amazing that he was looking at the very hilltop upon which Jesus had raised his friend Lazerus from the dead. Nearly two millennia had gone by since that day, but Messiah was still doing the impossible. The thought formed a morning devotional all by itself.
He picked up Hannah’s business card and dialed her number. Surprisingly, the archaeologist answered after the first ring.
“Hello Ben. You’ve heard from your friend. What’s the news?” Hannah asked.
“He agrees. The whole thing is God-ordained,” Ben stated.
“Good. I’ve been praying about it, too. It feels right. Now, I need his full name and where he is located.
Unbeknownst to Ben, two hundred feet into the stand of cedars, a small parabolic dish captured every word he shared with Hannah Lira. When the conversation terminated, another commenced.

Paris, France
Tuesday, November 10
6:30 a.m., Local Time

Andre D’Tiene sat with his elbows perched on the etched glass of his breakfast table. Though it was early and he was still wearing a royal blue house coat and leather slippers, his gray hair was already gelled into place and his face was shaved. Everything about the man portrayed an air of professionalism. He was politician ready to do business with his underlings.
He swirled a crusty piece of toast around the rim of a cup of thick, black coffee making sure the point of saturation had softened the bread. Something about the way butter meshed with the hot liquid made his mouth water. He had no preference for the bread, one way or the other. It was the taste of the mixture that he was after. But that wasn’t all that occupied the president of France and erstwhile leader of the Mediterranean Union. Though not fully dressed, his mind had already planned for the day and was full at work.
D’Tiene looked up from his cup and drilled his longtime personal assistant, Reginald Tipry, with a set of intense, brown eyes.“Polkov’s pawns are moving, eh?”
“So it seems,” nodded the tall, skinny Frenchman. He wasn’t a model of physical prowess, but possessed an uncanny ability to read the thoughts of his boss, something D’Tiene appreciated. Intensity bothered the man not in the least. “A battalion of Sudanese infantry crossed into Eretria about two hours ago.”
“What are their chances of reaching the objective before we do?” D’Tiene asked.
“That is not yet determined. The Eretrians are putting up more of a roadblock than the Sudanese expected. The battalion is not heavily mechanized, consisting mainly of armed thugs sitting in the beds of light trucks. My suspicion is that if they make it to Aksum at all, it will take them two weeks, possibly more,” Reginald surmised.
“Are we certain there are no Russian forces ready to move should the Sudanese fail?” D’Tiene asked. His concern in this particular game of global chess was the avoidance of armed conflict with Russia. Strategy and timing must be his allies, not brute strength. As of yet, the MU had developed no military might whatsoever. It remained a ragtag collection of nations that still held great suspicion of one another, not a unified force that might affect any sort of strategic transformation in the region. But that would all change, and it would be sooner than most in the world could fathom.
“Sir, our people on the ground assure me the Russians have nothing more than a few military advisers in Sudan, and they are occupied with ordering the Sudanese deployment along the southern border of Israel,” Reginald answered.
“I cannot emphasize to you the absolute necessity of being watchful of the Russians. A Spetznaz unit has the most rapid deployment capabilities I have ever heard of. You must be vigilant.” D’Tiene did not want to lecture his friend and aide, but too much was at stake.
“We are aware of every move the Russians are making. I will not tell you how, but it is true none-the-less.”
“Very well,” D’Tiene was satisfied. He quickly shifted gears. “What is the progress of your strike team?”
“The team remains in training, but it will be ready when you give the word to go.”
“Excellent. It will happen quickly, so be prepared.”
“We shall be,” Reginald replied. “Naftali believes he can salvage his position, even though all odds are against him. He believes the recovery of the Jewish Ark will consolidate his power and unite his people.”
“And it would, Reginald, if Naftali can get hold of it.” D’Tiene took a sip of coffee before he continued. “But if I get there first, the peace and safety of Israel will rest in my hands alone. Naftali will be forced to bow to my will, or be removed. But I believe he will see that I have only the good of Israel, and the stability of the entire region at heart. It will be in his best interest to get with my program, especially since I have given him the preliminary go ahead to build the Third Temple.”
“Where do the Americans fit in? Will they not intercede on behalf of Israel?” Reginald asked.
“Pah,” D’Tiene mocked sarcastically. “Yangton is a frightened child, arrogant yes, but frightened. He is out of his league and he knows it. No, the President will be content to allow others to fight for peace in the Middle East. As long as oil continues to flow to America, he will say and do nothing.”
“Then the plan should work, yes?”
“Yes, my friend, it should. The unknown element is Israel. It is important that they believe success is possible. We must avoid any direct involvement or confrontation with them until the very last moment. Now, tell me about the composition of this group in Jerusalem.”
D’Tiene’s assistant spent the next thirty minutes describing the archaeological exploits of Dr. Hannah Lira. Six members of her team had been identified, mostly men connected with Israel’s military hierarchy. However, the others remained a mystery, an unknown, and that bothered D’Tiene.
“You’ve got more work to do, Reginald. Find out the identity of those men,” D’Tiene commanded.


Jimmy Root Jr
Author: DISTANT THUNDER and the AWARD WINNING MAGOG RISING
Books One and Two of the Lightning Chronicles

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chapter Five

CHAPTER FIVE

Plattsville, Missouri
Monday, November 9
7:30 p.m. Local Time

“Did you see it Marty?” Josh Herndon asked angrily. “The President threw Israel under the bus. All they’re doing is defending their nation, and this guy orders them to stop their aggressive actions and submit to the peace-keeping coalition.”
Marty Schoenberg nodded his head, but he was obviously having trouble believing what he’d heard.
Pastor Ty sat in his chair and let the conversation play out between his three remaining deacons. He tried not to let it be seen in his expression, but he was amused. The same guys who had nearly run him out of town two weeks earlier with accusations of fear mongering were now hashing out the finer points of the end time events. But, fortunately for Ty, things didn’t go the way they’d originally planned. He’d predicted the destruction of Damascus, as well as a renewed round of terrorist attacks on the United States, and those beliefs had ended up being prophetic. Now, after his vindication, they had little choice but to understand God was using him. Their acceptance of his leadership was set in stone.
“It makes no sense!” Marty retorted, “Why would Yangton abandon Israel? They need us now more than ever. I still can’t believe he actually meant they should bow to the Russians.” As a school teacher, Marty was used to dealing with situations by thinking logically.
Cal Fisher piped up. He too was beginning to see truth in terms of black and white instead of gray. “Marty, you should’ve seen the man. He looked like a deer caught in the headlights. He won’t stand up to the Russians, or even the Iranians for that matter. He’s afraid he’ll trigger another war. If you ask me, I’d say he’s spineless!”
“What do you think, Ty? What’s coming next?” Josh asked.
Ty reached for his soda and took a sip. It was nice having the meeting in his home. This was his comfort zone. He was also encouraged to see that his deacons were jumping onto the same page as he. Old ruler, Jack Halford, was gone, though the pain caused by his exit had pushed Ty to the limits of what he could bear. Still, having his men show such an interest in the Word of God and its relationship to current events was extremely satisfying.
“Several things actually,” Ty responded, “Though in which order they occur I can’t be sure. From Ezekiel 38:13, we know that the western world will only offer a diplomatic protest to Russia’s threat against Israel. That’s how America will respond, and it only makes sense when you analyze the direction Yangton is taking. In my opinion, the forsaking of Israel will only lead to the demise of the United States. So, look for Russia to go further than its UN mandate. They are beginning to see that our government won’t lift a finger to stop them. When they move to attack Israel, Ezekiel says God is going to get royally ticked off.”
“So, you’re saying things are going to get worse,” Josh stated.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” answered Ty. “We’re turning our back on God’s covenant blessing. As it is now, the bombings have torn the country apart. The economy is dead. People are going wild in the cities, and the government is caving in on itself. If you’ve ever had a worse-case-scenario, this is it. Still, we need to keep doing what we’re doing and be prepared to take it to another level, even if our government is going to hell in a hand basket. No matter how hard it gets for us, people are ready to hear the gospel. We’ve got to come through.”
The men nodded and were lost in thought when Marty changed the direction of the conversation. “What about you, Ty? What are your plans?” The question was point blank.
Ty looked him in the eye. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, with everything that’s happened, what do you need to do?” Marty restated his question. “You’ve been so wrapped up in this mess I’m not sure you’ve thought about your personal priorities. Listen, everything you’ve been doing shows an incredible level of love and leadership, and it’s more than commendable. But, I’m wondering if there isn’t something more.” He let the statement hang in the air.
“Just say it Marty,” Josh broke the momentary silence. He was smiling.
Ty intuitively understood what was behind Marty’s question. He was touched by the men’s genuine concern. The guys were obviously thinking he must be at his breaking point. They couldn’t see how a man could remain sane after suffering the loss of his brother, being practically defrocked by his church, witnessing a national holocaust, and tragically losing his mother, all within a span of three weeks.
“I think I know where you’re going, Marty. Blake and I had already decided to get married before mom was killed.” It was hard for him to say without his mother’s last moments being vividly replayed in his memory. Jack Halford’s bullet had missed him, only to administer a mortal wound to her.
The men could see his emotional struggle. They had enough sense to allow him to work his way through it.
“She expressed her desire with her last words. She didn’t want us to hesitate, no matter what happened with her. There’s no doubt that Blake and I are meant for each other, it’s just a question of when. We both agreed that I should talk it over with you guys as trusted friends.”
“Well,” Josh’ grin widened, “I have my opinion.”
“Before you say it, you need to hear something else.”
“What more could there be. It’s all pretty cut and dried, isn’t it?”
“No, it’s not, Josh. Not two hours ago, I received a call from Israel, from the same man who gave us the tent. His name is Ben Sherett, and as you all probably know, he is the pastor of a Messianic Jewish congregation in Haifa. The poor guy is knee deep in his own disaster.”
“Why’d he call?” Josh was puzzled.
“He claimed God spoke to him and told him to get in touch with me.” Ty rubbed his forehead as he crafted the right words to convey the bizarre. “Evidently, I’ve been on his mind lately, and it’s because of a strange connection between us. Get this. It seems that his dad was an itinerant evangelist who held crusades around the mid-west. One was right down in Kansas City. Guys, my mom and dad were present at that meeting a little more than thirty-two years ago. Ben recalled that his dad prophesied over a pregnant woman during one of those services.”
“No way!” Josh exclaimed.
Ty shook his head, still having a hard time believing it was all true. He told them the story, and then what his mother had said as she lay dying. By the end, their eyes were wide.
“Whoa!” Cal blurted.
“Anyway, Ben believes that connection meant something. As, a result, he’s invited me to visit Israel to help him minister to his people for a few weeks.”
“No way!” stated Marty, echoing Josh’s earlier sentiment, “right in the middle of a possible invasion? That’s incredible! You’d better tell me you said yes! Tell me you are going to marry Blake and make that your honeymoon.”
“No kidding, man. We don’t necessarily like losing you, even for the short term, but you’ve got to go with this,” said Josh.
“Wait, wait, wait,” interjected Cal, “The airports are still in lock down. And do you even have a passport?”
“Nope,” answered Ty.
“Then it looks pretty impossible to me.”
“Cal, you’re right, but Ben said it wouldn’t be a problem—something about the government of Israel making it happen by calling this a diplomatic matter. He said everything would be handled through the State Department. My only concern is for Faith Community Church.”
“It shouldn’t be,” Josh said firmly. “This thing will take care of itself. The people are handling the refugee workload, and we can keep up the memorial services without you. We’ve all learned how to share the gospel, and Marty here is a pretty fair public speaker. Plus, it’s going to be a long time before we get back to normal church life, if ever. So, honestly, I think we can get by without you for a few weeks. You really need to get out of here and get restored.”
Cal asked, “Have you told Blake about the call yet?”
“No, I haven’t,” Ty responded. “I wanted you guys to have the full picture and get your input.”
“Listen Ty,” chuckled Josh, “you’ve got a lot to learn about who you should be talking to first. Let me give you a hint. From now on, talk to your wife. It’ll save you skin.”
Ty smiled, “Point taken.” He was sensing a clarity that had been eluding him. “But that leads me to another little problem.”
“What’s that?” Cal asked. “I’d say if you can get to Israel without a passport, God can take care of any other problems you have.”
“Well, it’s like this,” said Ty, “The county offices are shut down until further notice, and I think that means indefinitely. In other words, we can’t get a marriage license.”
Josh looked from Marty to Cal, and then back to Ty. “Don’t see the problem.”
“I do,” Ty responded. “We don’t want to bring reproach to Christ in any way. We won’t tolerate even the appearance of immorality.”
“Let me ask you this, who married Isaac and Rebecca? Who married Jacob and Rachel? Who married...”
“Okay, okay, I get the picture,” interrupted Ty. “Are you guys okay with just a spiritual ceremony until a license can be obtained? Technically, we won’t be legal.”
“Can’t be helped,” said Josh. “As far as I’m concerned, God is the one you want to please. And you can count on us as being the spiritual witnesses. I say get married.”
“Ditto for me,” Marty agreed, and before Ty could say another word, “all in favor, say aye!”
The consensus was reached. Josh spoke for all of them. “Go, and congratulations!”
Thirty minutes later, with the meeting adjourned and his friends gone from his house, Ty realized there was still one more thing that needed to be done. A visit to the Clay County jail where Jack Halford was being housed had to happen, and soon. Forgiveness may not be easy, but it had to happen, and soon.


Jimmy Root Jr
Author: DISTANT THUNDER and the AWARD WINNING MAGOG RISING
Books One and Two of the Lightning Chronicles

$15 per Copy...SIGNED!
Buy several for the same shipping rate as ONE! Give them as gifts.
OR
Send a check to Jimmy Root Jr PO Box 112, Smithville, MO 64089
(add $5.00 for shipping)

MAGOG RISING
is the READERS FAVORITE 2010 National Writing Competition SILVER MEDALIST in the Christian Fiction Genre
ORDER NOW
Visit:
http://www.lightningchronicles.com/
Toll Free at 1866 909-2665
Or use the above address to send a check for $18.00 (includes shipping) and ask for Magog Rising...or get both books....SIGNED!
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chapter Four

CHAPTER FOUR

Plattsville, Missouri
Monday, November 9
12:00 p.m. Local

Blake took the sandwich she’d just prepared, put it on a plate, and the sliced it with a knife. Taking half for herself, she gently pushed the plate across the counter toward Ty. She could tell by the way his elbows were planted on the breakfast bar that his mind wasn’t on lunch. In fact, he’d hardly eaten since his mother had died three days earlier. Still, she refused to lay aside the exuberance she felt in her heart.
“Your mom was awesome,” she said, hoping that a casual conversation about nothing might pull him out of his funk. “She had this place stocked up with loads of essentials. I mean, there are jars of homemade jams, and the peanut butter to go with them.” He didn’t respond. “Come to think of it, I bet her cupboards explain how she stayed so thin. They’re full of canned garden produce, nuts, and Jiffy. Plenty of that! But just about everything is sugar free. She obviously didn’t eat junk food, did she?”
“No, but she loved a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” he finally showed signs of life.
“I think I know why.”
“Why?”
“There’s something happy about it. It’s creamy and fruity all at the same time. It just makes you feel all fuzzy when you put it in your mouth. Her attitude was like that, wasn’t it?
“Yeah, it was,” answered Ty with the trace of a smile showing up around the edges of his mouth. “I remember eating this stuff until it was coming out my ears. I always thought it was because we were kind of poor, but you’re right. She loved ‘em.”
“Me too.” She waited before taking her first bite. “Ty, I need to ask you something and now is as good a time as any. Is that okay?”
He looked her in the eye wondering what she was thinking. “Sure.”
“What are you planning on doing?”
He thought about it as he picked at his sandwich,” I don’t know. I’ve got a meeting with the board this evening. They want to try and make sense out of what’s happened, maybe get a handle on what to do next. After that, I don’t know.”
“That’s not exactly what I’m asking.”
“I don’t understand,” Ty said.
She looked at him. Humor graced her eyes. “I’m talking about us. What are you planning on doing about us? I know you’ve got to work your way through some things, and I can’t imagine what it must be like to have lost your mom, but I heard her last words too.”
“You heard her talk about the rapture stuff, did you?”
“I heard it. But, I was thinking of something else.” She could still hear the words Martha Dempsey had spoken as she lay on the ground dying. “You marry this girl!” had been her final, motherly command.
He reached across the counter and touched her hand. “Honestly, it’s been on my mind since she said it. I just don’t know about the timing,” he said with sincerity.
“Want my opinion?”
“Of course.”
“Okay, here’s the blunt version. I think what your mom said about Jesus coming back should be taken seriously. It looks to me like there isn’t much time left before it happens. With that said, I haven’t waited for the right guy to come around for all these years just to have the rapture keep me from marrying him. Know what I mean? My guess is your mom understood the sentiment and was basically telling you to get with the program, no matter what happened to her.”
“Wow, you are blunt, aren’t you?”
“Yup. I calls ‘em like I see’s ‘em,” she teased. She also noticed he’d taken a bite of sandwich. That was good.
Ty took his time before responding to her original question. In fact, he’d worked his way through the first half of the sandwich before he spoke. Now that he was eating, he realized he was hungry.
Blake waited patiently, but couldn’t help being swallowed up in her man’s quiet sorrow.
He finally spoke. “It’s sure weird how things get all tangled up. A week ago, I could hardly wait to pop the question to you, remember? Then everything went haywire. Suddenly, I don’t know what to do. Does that make sense?”
“Sure. Everything’s been out of whack for me too, starting with the day you first called to ask me out. For what it’s worth, I’m really glad you did.”
“I’m glad too, and I have no doubt what the next step is. I just don’t know when to jump. It’s still hard to believe that mom is gone, especially knowing how much she wanted me to find the right girl.” he explained. “Now, she won’t see how it all turns out. I’m having a hard time with that.”
“I know you are. Me too. Part of me says we should wait so that all this grief can be processed. But the other part says that there’s too much of it to work through. Waiting until the hurt is healed might take forever. My heart tells me that getting married will only help.”
Ty got up and walked to the glass doors that opened to his mother’s garden. She’d cleared most of it before the nuclear holocaust had happened, but there were still a few fall-blooming flowers highlighting the edges. A wisp of wind carried dried leaves across the yard, and the sight of a dying autumn only added to his melancholy. But standing there, between the pain of remembrance and the brightness of a new future, his mind began to clear.
Turning to Blake he stuffed his hands in his pockets and leaned against the door. “I don’t want to sound super-spiritual, but I think we should pray about it. Let’s see what the Lord says. One thing is for sure, I love you, and unless Jesus comes back real soon, you’ll be Mrs. Tyler Dempsey, agreed?”
“Agreed!”
Blake had no doubt her man really wanted to do the right thing at the right time. He would wait for the Lord to give him the go ahead, and that was a good thing. But the ache in her heart was casting a vote for more speed, and that ache wasn’t due to grief.

Jerusalem
Same Time Local

Dr. Lira nodded in the direction of Zev Tolberg, who stood and dimmed the lights. A white screen lowered in front of the window, and a video projector came to life above their heads. The room was quickly converted into a classroom.
“Gentlemen,” she began, “this is our objective.”
The screen was filled with an artist’s rendering of the Ark of the Covenant, situated in the Most Holy Place of Solomon’s Temple. The design was simple, yet beautiful. The box, inlayed with gold inside and out, glowed. Two angelic beings stood on opposite ends above the cover with heads bowed and wings outstretched. Their wingtips touched in the center. The space between them formed the ancient Seat of Mercy. Solomon described it as the place of God’s glorious presence on earth, and so it was. Ben was well familiar with all of it.
“Our mission is simple. We will recover this object from its hiding place and return it to Jerusalem.”
The image changed to reveal a satellite-generated photo of a compound. Three structures dominated the scene.
“Say hello to Aksum, Ethiopia. Located in the Horn of Africa approximately one hundred kilometers south of the border of Eritrea, it is the home of the three structures you are observing.” She continued. “The larger building is the Church of Saint Mary of Sion, an Orthodox Christian community that makes up the prominent religious group in this region of northern Ethiopia. The rectangular edifice nearby, about a hundred meters to the south, is the ancient church of the same name. You will notice a small, perfectly square building between the two. This little structure will be the focus of our mission. It is the Chapel of the Ark of the Covenant.”
Gilad Belfer, a tightly built man with short black hair, sharp facial features, and penetrating eyes broke in. “We’ve been led to believe the rumors of the Ark being under the Church of Saint Mary were only a myth created by fundamentalist Christians.”
“Welcome to the world of disinformation, Gilad. Our own government has disavowed the rumor since the time of our inception as the State of Israel. Instead, reports that the Ark rests beneath the ruins of the Temple Mount have been given a hint of credence, and it has happened for a purpose. Because of the ongoing conflict with Islam, our leaders have conspired to keep the eyes of our enemies, and those of the world, locked upon Jerusalem as being the Ark’s location. Discounting Aksum as the actual site has left it relatively forgotten and unmolested.”
“That makes sense,” nodded Gilad.
“However, we have a problem,” continued Dr. Lira. “It seems the Russians are attempting to cover every possible lead. They’ve enlisted the help of their allies in the Sudan. As we speak, elements of the Sudanese armed forces are pushing into Eritrea and are slowly moving toward the capitol city, Asmara. Once that has been achieved, they will have a straight shot down the interior highway to Aksum. Now, we believe the Eritreans will be able to hold off the intruders long enough for us to order our operation, but we have a window of only about three weeks to get ready and get the job done. Timing will be critical.”
“Why us?” asked Ben. “Why exactly are we here? Honestly, I’m just an average guy doing my best to do some good in Haifa. I don’t know about these men, but outside of Zev, Ari, and Gilad here, none of us seem like the ideal people for this job. What gives?”
Dr. Lira smiled at Ben’s candidness. It was the reaction she had been expecting from the transplanted American Jew. “The answer to your question, Ben, will take us in several directions, but it is time you know. This group was chosen on the basis of three pertinent facts. First, you are all Messianic…each of you believe Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel. Second, you can all trace your heritage to the tribe of Levi. That would have made you members of the functioning priesthood in ancient Israel. You are Christian priests! Third, you have all been proven in combat during your time in the Israeli Defense Forces. With a short period of intensive training, you will return to combat readiness. Those three elements make you exactly the men we need.”
“How do these elements relate?” Ben questioned.
“It’s really quite simple when you think about it, and it has to do with appearances. We are going on a mission to recover the Ark of the Covenant. God gave Moses a mandate that only Levites were to be the caretakers and transporters of the Ark. Twelve priests were to carry it by way of two, gold-covered poles. The twelve of you will make up that number.” She let that sink in for a few seconds. “We will maintain the integrity of the Torah by following that command, and we will avoid being a stumbling block to the Jews, all at the same time. But there is an added element, and it has to do with our being followers of Yeshua. We know from the writings of the Apostle Paul that we are freed from the letter of the Law. That freedom is by virtue of the atoning sacrifice of Messiah. Therefore, the old statutes of not touching the Ark upon pain of death will not apply. We will be able to do whatever it takes to get the Ark back to Israel, even if it means hoisting it on our backs and carrying it.”
Ari Goins spoke up next. “Dr. Lira, tell them why it is absolutely essential that the Ark return to Jerusalem as soon as possible. I think it will help them understand the bigger picture.”
“Ari’s right. I believe, as do most of you, that Ezekiel’s prophecies are about to reach their fulfillment. The alignment of nations is complete. Forces are on the move toward the borders of Israel, just as it was prophesied. But that’s not all. In my studies, I have found two verses that stand out as an indication of what is actually going to happen.
“The first is the twenty-third verse of chapter thirty-eight. It says; ‘And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations.’ In other words, God is going to reveal his glory. I believe the Ark of the Covenant must be the centerpiece of that issuance.”
Ben knew the verses well and simply had to challenge Dr. Lira’s interpretation. “Hannah, there is no mention of God’s glory in that verse. What makes you believe the Ark must be present?”
“If I were to go by that verse alone, I couldn’t make that leap. However, verse twenty-one of the next chapter goes further. As happens throughout scripture, the next chapter expounds upon the previous prophetic utterance by adding detail. Listen to the verse; ‘I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them. From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God.’ The term glory is only used in reference to the most intimate expression of God’s presence. The manifestation of the glory took place between the Cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant. This is how he revealed himself to Israel.”
“That, I’ll give you. But why does that presuppose the Ark is still the wellspring of God’s glory?” asked Ben. “In fact, Yeshua fulfills all the aspect of God’s revealed glory on the earth.”
“You are right. Yeshua is the revelation of the glory of God. But even in the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ we see the Messiah standing beside the shekinah glory in heaven. John described it in an incredible way. That plays right into what I believe is about to take place.”
“What do you mean?”
“Everything about Ezekiel’s words focus on a great cataclysmic demonstration made by God against his enemies,” she continued. “It will happen in a moment, and the whole world will see it. Not only that, they will know that it is God’s doing. I believe it will be a startlingly visible manifestation that will proceed from the restored symbol of his presence. I don’t know what it will be, but for it to take place, the Ark must be resting on its ancient platform. A monumental effort on our part will be required, but once the Ark is placed on the Temple Mount, it is entirely possible that something spectacular will occur.” She let the words sink deep before she continued.
Questioning glances were exchanged between the men, but something about Dr. Lira’s words resonated as prophetic. Still, Ben could not help himself. “How can we stake so much on such slim Biblical evidence? I agree with you that something cataclysmic is going to happen because it is prophesied. But this could all just be a wild goose chase.”
“Ben, it’s a risk. That is certain. If none of this is true, we’ll literally be scattering our lives to the winds. But there is more to it than just returning the Ark to Jerusalem.”
“Like what?”
“Israel is alone. No one is coming to our rescue this time. People need to refocus on God, and since they haven’t found a way to do that, a symbol like the Ark might just cause them to turn and begin to seek him again. That is the spiritual awakening I am praying for,” her voice cracked with emotion. The men could see her true passion shinning beyond the trappings of the mission. “We know by the scriptures that many Jews will not turn to Yeshua until after a great deception has occurred. But we must do all we can to help draw them to the Lord before that happens. In the meantime, the rebuilding of the Temple will not be possible until the Ark of the Covenant is returned. So, either way, we must complete this mission.”
There was silence in response to what she’d spoken. Even for Ben, the questions were suddenly moot. Israel needed help, even if it was something as bizarre as returning the most holy of ancient artifacts to its proper place.
After a few moments Dr. Lira continued. All signs of deep emotion were gone from her voice. “Here is our plan of action. Tonight, you will be housed here on the campus. Tomorrow, you will be returned to your homes, and each of you will have three days to get your interests in order. You already know this will be a dangerous endeavor, so you need to make sure your families are provided for in case something should happen to you. If you need any particular help in getting this done, let me know. There is a very small element of the government that knows what we are doing. They are committed to assist you in every way possible. On Thursday, no later than noon, we’ll meet back here. From that point on, be prepared to work and work hard.”
She paused and crossed her arms. “I can imagine how the original words of Ezekiel were taken when he talked about dry bones and mountains blowing their tops. The vision seems fiction-esque, but I believe it with every fiber of my being. We are approaching the day for which we have longed since we came into relationship with Yeshua. The peril of Israel is as high as it can possibly be, but so are the prospects of victory.” She paused. “Let me be honest. If our mission is discovered, you can be assured that our enemies will react with violence to stop us. We must be prepared to fight our way to the finish line.”
There it was—no hedging, no innuendos, and no speculation. Twelve messianic Levites and one woman were on a life—or—death mission that could possibly bring back the King.
The meeting was adjourned with prayer for guidance and help.
At precisely the same moment, a call was placed by the distant watcher to the secure line of an apartment in Paris

Jerusalem
One hour later

As the only pastor in the group, Ben faced a dilemma. The congregation of Celebration Center desperately needed a substitute, someone who could step in and take his place. He was having difficulty balancing the church’s needs with Dr. Lira’s suggestion that the mission could quite possibly claim his life. What if he didn’t come back? Due to the destruction in Haifa his energies were needed now more than at any other time since the group was started. A true harvest was being reaped. People were turning to Yeshua in the wake of the nuclear attack. And then there was Ingrid? She might be able to carry on the work of the church in his absence temporarily, but not if she had to cope with his death. The realities of his commitment to the mission suddenly became clear.
As the internal debate raged, the image of a particular face encroached upon his thoughts. The image was of the American pastor, Ty Dempsey. He was bent over his dying mother listening to words that bound the two pastors together in a most unusual way. Unable to shake the picture from his mind, Ben got the distinct impression that the answer to his problem was right in front of him. But how could it be? The idea seemed impossible. Kansas City had been attacked by a nuclear-laden terrorist too, and Dempsey was knee deep in his own difficulties. Why would he come to Israel? How would he come to Israel? International travel was practically at a standstill.
That’s just crazy! Ben thought to himself, but it gnawed at him until he decided to test the Lord. Dr. Lira had offered to assist the team members in their preparations. He’d use Dempsey as a fleece. If Lira could find a way to get this one man shipped to Israel, when both America and Israel were basically shut down, then Ben would know everything that was happening was part of God’s plan. With that in mind, he left the dorm and made his way back to the front porch of Dr. Lira’s home.
The door was opened by Zev Tolberg and Ben stepped back into the now empty living room of the archaeologist. She was sitting on the sofa sipping a hot cup of tea when he entered. She started to stand.
“Please, Dr. Lira, don’t get up,” he said before she could set her cup on the table. “I won’t take much of your time, but I have a little problem. I need your help.”
“Let me guess, Ben,” she smiled, “you’re worried about your church, aren’t you?”
He knew she was sharp, but man, it was like she could read his mail. “Yes ma’am, I am. I’m on board fully with this operation. However, my congregation is in a precarious position, and I need help in getting the right person in place to take the reigns of the ministry, at least temporarily.”
She smiled, “I’ll ask you again. Call me Hannah, okay? If you don’t, I’ll start calling you Reverend.”
Ben laughed. He could see she wasn’t rebuking him, but wanted to establish a genuine camaraderie. “Deal!”
“Good! Now, I bet you have a plan.”
“I do. I have a gut feeling, maybe a nudge in my spirit. I think the Lord wants me to send for a young pastor from the United States. He doesn’t know it yet, but we are spiritually connected.”
Ben took the next few minutes to share a story that tied him and the young American pastor together. “My father was what we called an old fashioned revivalist. He even had the tent to go with it,” Ben chuckled at the memory. “Anyway, we were holding a revival in Kansas City when, one hot summer night, something strange happened.” He paused, trying to find a way to shorten the narrative.
“What happened?” Hannah wanted to hear.
“A couple was in attendance. The woman was pregnant, which meant nothing to me at the time; I was only ten years old. But the Spirit of God came over my dad right in the middle of his message. He went straight to them and began to give a word of prophecy.”
“What did he say?” She was aware of the Biblical teaching concerning the Gifts of the Spirit.
“He spoke first to the father, who didn’t seem to listen. But then he spoke to the mother and said something about her child being appointed for the salvation of many people. He told her the child would see the return of Jesus with his own eyes. He would be alive at the moment of the Rapture. That really got my attention,” Ben said as he stood and turned toward an artifact cabinet as if he needed to formulate his thoughts. He was trying to replay the image of Ty Dempsey cradling his mother’s head, all of being broadcast internationally by satellite. “I’d forgotten all of that until I heard her repeat those very words on international television not three days ago.” He turned back to Hannah. “Ty and I have been connected since that moment. And now I’m convinced God wants our paths to converge again.”
Hannah listened intently, quite moved by what he’d related. When he finished, he noticed tears in her eyes. No words passed between them for several moments.
“Hannah, I guess I’m asking for some of that help you were talking about. With the attacks on American cities, things are pretty chaotic over there. In fact, it appears things are going from bad to worse. It will take some leverage from highly placed, influential people to get the man here.”
“Are you in a position to contact him?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“Then do it right away. See if he is open to the idea. If so, we’ll get him to Israel by any means possible. But I have to tell you, it may be impossible to insure his arrival before you have to report for training. Are you comfortable with the man stepping into your ministry without having actually met him?”
“Hannah, in my way of thinking, only the Lord has to be comfortable. I can’t get around the fact that Ty Dempsey is God’s choice,” Ben answered thoughtfully.
“Okay then, let’s do it!” She stood to walk Ben to the door. She handed him her business card. “Take this and call me when you’ve talked him. That way, you won’t have to make another trip down the hill, deal?”
“Thanks. I’ll get back with you as soon as I have an answer.”


Jimmy Root Jr
Author: DISTANT THUNDER and the AWARD WINNING MAGOG RISING
Books One and Two of the Lightning Chronicles

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Chapter Three

CHAPTER THREE

Jerusalem
Monday, November 9
7:00 p.m., Local Time

Rivulets of water merged and streamed across the windshield of the black sedan as it powered its way up the steep slope of Mount Zion. Hatyvat Yerushalaym, the main highway from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, was still wet from an evening rain. The pavement cast a sharp glare with the headlights of every oncoming vehicle. A three hour journey from Haifa to the foot of the Temple Mount was finally coming to an end, and that was just fine with the fatigued passenger in the back seat.
The summons had come earlier that morning, much sooner than Benjamin Sherett had expected. In fact, the call had interrupted an intense discussion between him and his wife. His participation in the secret operation tasked with recovering the Ark of the Covenant had weighted Ingrid’s heart with deep concern. Her questions had merit. Was it really the authentic, historic Ark they were going after? Were these people legitimate? And, who in God’s creation was Hannah Lira? Each unknown had bothered Ingrid during the night hours. By daybreak her anxiety was nearing a state of panic.
Ben had done all he could to allay her fears, but the task bordered on the impossible. He was the American-born maverick. She was the cautious product of a persecuted family of Polish immigrants. Their personalities were completely different, but those same idiosyncrasies had helped form a healthy marriage. Through the years he’d learned to temper his impulsive nature by listening to her intuitive concerns, and the results were beyond question. Her caution had saved his kosher bacon many times. He’d rubbed off on her too, making her moments of panic surface less and less often.
However, from the time the opportunity to join the ARC team had presented itself three days earlier Ben could not control his impulsive to be a part of something big. He was convinced he couldn’t pass up this opportunity, especially after the port of Haifa had been devastated by a terrorist-launched nuclear missile. It would have been easy to stay put, assisting the suffering and homeless in the aftermath. But Ben had felt a familiar inner tug that urged him to get involved. From his long experience, he’d come to recognize that nudge as coming from the Holy Spirit. He fully believed Ingrid would feel it too, eventually. It would simply take little time and plenty of patience, but he was certain she would work it out.
Ben recalled the summons from Jerusalem. It was brief and abrupt. The voice on the phone had seemed cold and hard. “Mr. Sherett, the two gentlemen you recently met will come for you at mid-afternoon. They will accompany you to Jerusalem University. You will be staying overnight, so prepare accordingly.” Click! That was it.
Ben had quickly converted into action mode, but little time had been given for Ingrid to catch her breath, let alone process what was happening.
“Why did you agree to this?” she’d pleaded. “Why didn’t you wait until we could talk it through? I don’t understand why you always jump without thinking.”
“Sweetheart, to find out what those guys wanted to tell me, I had to agree to their terms. Once they mentioned the Ark and my Levite heritage, my heart said this was right. I’m sorry, but this really seems like a God-thing,” Ben reasoned.
“I cannot argue with God, but I can sure challenge whether or not you’ve heard from him,” she stated.
There was no point in speaking. It broke his heart to see tears welling in her eyes. After all, she was right. He held her in his arms, stroked her long hair, and tried to soothe her deeply rooted fear. Because of her heritage of persecution and separation, the thought of being left alone in the world terrorized her beyond her ability to cope. When she finally relaxed he whispered a prayer. He asked for wisdom. He asked for help. He asked God to allow her the clarity to hear his voice. That was the only way she would break through to any semblance of peace.
Now, as the car pulled off the highway onto a narrow tree-lined street, Ben realized his own moment of enlightenment was approaching.
The driver, a very big man that had revealed his name as Ari Goins, took a series of switchback curves that led around the rigid rock walls of Jerusalem University. Another turn brought them onto a narrow lane that cut through an Olive grove. They pulled to a stop in front of a small bungalow tucked beneath the western slope. The only light, a single flood lamp highlighting the old Greek Seminary one hundred feet up the hillside, glowed through a hazy mist.
Ben noticed a small, delicate woman approaching the vehicle. Her long dark hair was swept into a ponytail, and her face seemed to glow beyond the dim light. She was dressed casually in blue jeans and over sized sweater, but her eyes caught enough light to reflect a depth of wisdom that belied her youthful appearance. Ben noticed she was flanked by the man he recognized as his driver’s sidekick, Zev Tolberg.
As Ben got out of the car, she offered a warm smile. “Pastor Sherett, welcome to my home. My name is Hannah Lira.” She extended her hand upward. He seemed to tower over her and was surprised by the firmness of her grip. Though little above five feet in height, this small woman exuded an abundance of confidence.
“Ma’am, please call me Ben,” he said as she directed him toward the house and a large wood-paneled door.
“Thank you, I will if you’ll refrain from calling me ma’am,” her bright smile seemed to counter the darkness. Joy flowed from her as naturally as water sprang from a well.
Ben was led through a narrow hallway and into a modest living room. One entire wall consisted of nothing but floor to ceiling panes of glass. The panorama of the western reaches of Jerusalem was breathtaking, the King David hotel in the distance being the first landmark to catch his eye.
Seated in a half circle around the room were nine other men. Ben could feel the eyes of each sizing him up, estimating his importance or lack thereof. But he was quickly distracted by objects around the periphery of the room. Various collections of pottery, crude tools, and bits of stone tablets were on display. Each piece carried a particular tag describing its date of discovery, location, and culture of origin. The more valuable works sat in softly lighted glass cabinets. Any doubt about Hannah Lira’s legitimacy was answered.
“Gentlemen, may I present Pastor Benjamin Sherett from Haifa,” Dr. Lira touched Ben lightly on the shoulder as she spoke. She then introduced every man in turn. Each offered a curt greeting or a nod. Ben noticed how they were as commonplace in appearance and bearing as he. Anyone of them could pass for his brother. Dark hair, brown eyes, nearly matched in height and muscular build, they already looked like a team. Only Ari Goins stood out from the crowd because of his height body builder’s form.
Hannah motioned Ben toward a seat then stepped in front of the immense window and crossed her arms. There was no doubt about who was in command.
“I am certain I do not need to emphasize the desperate nature of our times. The Bible describes them as perilous. Some of us have anticipated the arrival of these days, even as the world wallows in spiritual ignorance.” Her words cut through the air like a knife. “Others of you are relatively new to the ways of Messiah, but your heart has been drawn to this moment as if you were born for it. The truth is we were all created for this day.”
Ben couldn’t help but gaze out over the Jerusalem hills and wonder what part he had to play in the end of the world. The thought made him feel small.
“What I am about to tell you must not leave this room,” she warned. Her words reinforced each man’s original agreement with Goins and Tolberg, basically stating that personal participation must include a one hundred percent commitment. Confidentiality was a life or death issue.
“Approximately nine hundred and fifty years before the birth of our Messiah, Makeda Queen of Sheba made a journey from the horn of Africa. Her destination was Jerusalem. She wanted to experience firsthand the glory of Solomon. Upon her arrival, electricity flew between the two monarchs. She was mesmerized by the aptitude of Solomon’s mind. His splendor captivated her. He, in turn, succumbed to her beauty and quick wit. Her mind was nearly equal to his, and though he was already well into an unparalleled collection of wives and concubines, from that point onward she was the greatest object of his affection. He quickly developed a love for her that surpassed that of all his wives. Their love affair lasted for nearly twenty years.
“From that union sprang her only son, later to become the first monarch of the land of Ethiopia. His name was Menelik. Ethiopian scribes wrote that Menelik bore the likeness of his father and that Solomon’s vast wisdom shined also in him. But more striking are the writings that describe the young man’s great love for Jehovah, and especially for the Ark of the Covenant.”
Dr. Lira paused to turned and study the panorama of Jerusalem before continuing. “Sadly, Menelik witnessed the spiritual fall of his father. Solomon had not only amassed a politically expedient harem, the many unions opened the floodgates of idol worship in Israel. Slowly, through the appeasing of the pagan appetites of his wives, images to heathen gods sprang up on every hillside, every valley, and finally within the courts of the Sacred Temple. Solomon’s heart was pulled away from the one true God.”
Lira again turned to face the group and sighed. “There is no known inscription or writing in Israel that relates what happened next. However, Menelik had the account etched onto a Sheban obelisk. Taking both the written and oral traditions into account, we’ve been able to fill in the blanks. We believe we have the true story of the Queen of Sheba and her son.
“Some twenty years after falling in love with Solomon, Markeda fell ill, never to recover. After her death, Solomon knew his son, as the only heir to the Ethiopian throne should return to his own people. But Solomon also knew the depth of love that Menelik carried for the Ark and the Presence of Jehovah. So, the King ordered the crafting of an exact replica of the Ark. If Menelik could not worship the Lord in the true Temple, at least he would have the symbol of Israel’s greatest artifact to pray to.
“However, that very concept sickened Menelik. His fidelity to God was far greater than his father’s. He saw Solomon’s act as just one more in a long series of compromises to the worship of idols.”
Ben could not remember being so drawn into a story. The words so transfixed him that he felt as if he could see the drama unfolding on a stage.
Hannah continued. “Not only had Menelik been given a wise spirit, God also provided the best ally possible; the High Priest, Elihaayim. A quiet figure during his tenure as the nation’s intercessor, Elihaayim discerned that Israel was quickly moving toward divine judgment. After spending years convincing the young Menelik of impending doom, the two devised a plan to deceive the king and save the most precious object in Israel.
“During the night, just before Menelik was to begin his journey to Ethiopia, Elihaayim took a select group of Levites into the Most Holy Place and removed the Ark. The replica was put in its place. Oddly, Solomon never knew that the Glory of God had departed the Temple. Never again was the Ark of the Covenant seen in Israel nor was it again referenced by name,” her voice was nearly a whisper. “Yet even in Ethiopia, Menelik understood the Ark’s true home was not with him. So, he inscribed on the obelisk a personal vow. He would find a way to someday return the Ark to a repentant Israel. The conspiracy remained hidden until the recent discover of the obelisk.”
Ben’s brow furrowed. He knew enough Bible history to know that Jeremiah had made a direct reference to the Ark of the Covenant. So did the writer of the Chronicles. Both were well after the days of Solomon. Dr. Lira felt the question stirring before he could ask it. A knowing smile formed on her face.
“I know what you’re thinking Ben.” She took a Bible from a nearby shelf, opened it to the Book of Jeremiah. “First, you will notice that Jeremiah is speaking the word of the Lord concerning the distant future, far down the road of time. The reference specifically states that the Ark of the Covenant would not enter their minds. They wouldn’t have to remember it as a past possession, and it would no longer be missed by them. Why? Because, in the time referenced by Jeremiah, the true Ark would again be where it belongs. No one would think of it as being absent.”
“Second, we have to look at Chronicles. Did you notice that those verses do not say ‘Ark of the Covenant,’ but simply ‘the Ark.’ It’s as if the Lord were speaking of an ordinary object rather than the ancient Seat of Mercy. I believe it was referenced as ‘the Ark’ because it was nothing more than a copy of the genuine article. In the end, the replica was carted off to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.” She paused again, and then bluntly asked, “You really don’t think the Lord would allow the true Ark of the Covenant to fall into the hands of a heathen king, do you?”
Ben could not respond verbally, but his jaw dropped. The more he thought about it, the more it made sense. God had preserved the Ark of the Covenant of Israel by spiriting it away in the hands of a true and faithful worshipper.
“Hopefully, you now see our national plight through the lens of a new hope. Israel is on the cusp of two, life-altering events, and they go hand in hand. One is the threat of annihilation that screams in Biblical proportions. The other is the recovery of the only object that can unify the nation and provide any glimpse of hope. With the return of the Ark of the Covenant all Jews will yearn for a rebuilt Temple. With that hope, Israel will bind together like never before. In fact, there will be a tremendous spiritual awakening that is desperately needed. You, my new friends, are going to make that happen.”
As the group struggled to grasp the implications of her words, none were aware that the meeting and the faces of its participants were focused in the camera lens of a hidden watcher.



Jimmy Root Jr
Author: DISTANT THUNDER and the AWARD WINNING MAGOG RISING
Books One and Two of the Lightning Chronicles

$15 per Copy...SIGNED!
Buy several for the same shipping rate as ONE! Give them as gifts.
OR
Send a check to Jimmy Root Jr PO Box 112, Smithville, MO 64089
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MAGOG RISING
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chapter Two


CHAPTER TWO

Israeli/Lebanese Border
Sunday, 10:30 p.m., Local Time

“You could’ve dropped that thing a bit further to the north, Frisbee,” Captain Moshe Eldan, call sign Dagger, radioed his wingman over the ship-to-ship intercom.
“What? I just converted that hill into a nice, level rock quarry. It was a perfect drop,” Rueben laughed.
Both F-16I Lightnings climbed vertically towards the stratosphere then rolled sharply southward to lessen the profile of their flaming engines. A mixture of aluminum chaff and hot flares were ejected from their jets as they exited harms way.
“Roger! Maybe the Russians will talk nicely since we just eliminated another one of their headaches.”
“Don’t count on it, boss. They’re still bitter about that squadron of Sukois you sent for a swim in the Mediterranean,” Reuben replied.
Moshe glanced at the ‘birds-eye-view” HSD, or Horizontal Situation Display, just in front of his left knee. Multiple blips, encompassing a range of two hundred miles north of the Lebanese border, dotted the screen. The onboard computer designated the targets as rotary aircraft in the form of Hind attack helicopters. There were also dozens of support fixed-wing fighters, but they posed no threat at the moment. However, two blips, identified as MiG-29 Fulcrums, were turning in his direction from about one hundred miles out.
“Check your HSD, Frisbee. Bogeys are heading our way. They must have been flying in ground clutter.”
“I copy your bogeys. What’s our profile?” Reuben asked. He remembered the last time he tackled a Fulcrum and wanted to make sure his leader had a game plan.
“Stay cool. Let’s come back around and skirt the border at their altitude. I want to see what they’re thinking,” Moshe ordered.
The tension in the air was palpable across the entire Middle East. Over Israel alone, fourteen F-16s were patrolling the skies. Jordan had numerous aircraft in the air, as did Egypt far to the southwest. It was a powder keg ready to ignite. But tension was the farthest thing from the cockpit of Moshe Eldan’s Lightning. If anything, Moshe was experiencing an overwhelming joy that made him want to laugh, even while performing air-to-ground attacks.
He recalled the reunion with his wife Tasha two days earlier. The mission to Libya had been a trap, and he’d barely escaped with his life. Rather than surprise the Russians and their vaunted Sukhoi-37 attack aircraft on the ground, an aerial dogfight had ensued over the Mediterranean Sea. He’d come a hairs breadth away from being flamed into the afterlife. But he’d proven the capabilities of the F-16 in combat, as well has a set of flying skills unmatched by any other Israeli pilot in history. He’d survived, but though his survival was a relief to everyone, it was what transpired just moments before the violent engagement that ended up rocking his wife’s world. He’d come face-to-face with the truth of Israel’s Messiah, right there in the cockpit. That had been the biggest battle of his life, one that ended with his spiritual surrender.
After climbing out of his Lightning that evening, he’d made his way to headquarters knowing Tasha would be waiting. The second he entered the door, she jumped into his arms.
“Babe,” he’d whispered in her ear, “let’s go into the lounge for a second. I want to tell you something before I report to the debriefing.”
She lifted her head from his neck and looked hard into his eyes, trying to perceive what he might have to say. He said nothing and just smiled.
He led her down the hall to the base lounge and sat beside her. “What is it?” she asked as he took her hand into his own.
“It was amazing!” he said.
“What? Tell me!” The look on her face was pleading for him to quit stalling. She didn’t know whether to be afraid or curious.
“Sweetheart, your prayers worked their magic.”
It took a second for the statement to sink in, but when it did, her mouth flew open. Her eyes went wide with hope. Ever since she’d stepped into a relationship with Yeshua, the true Messiah of Israel and Son of God, she’d prayed that her husband would experience the same.
Moshe continued. “Listen, after we attacked the airbase at Benghazi and turned back toward home, I had some time to think about the prophecies that you and the guys have been pushing at me, not only about what’s happening around us, but about Yeshua. They all line up too perfectly. Suddenly, the truth became very clear.”
Moshe paused. He wanted her to know exactly how it had happened. “As I thought about it I realized you were right. I was the one with the narrow mind. I was blind, at least until I realized I had no guarantee of living another day. These last two weeks, I’ve been way to close to the edge. I had to ask myself what would have happened if my life had been snuffed out by that missile over the Golan Heights. And then I suddenly knew the answer, and it wasn’t good.
“I sat in that cockpit and decided I’d been selfish. O sure, you were always the biggest part of my life, but I was in charge. I was the boss, and a poor one at that. So, I gave in and told Yeshua I was ready to pledge my life to him. I believe he is the Son of God, that he died for my sins, and that he rose from the dead. That’s when it happened.”
“What?” she asked. Her heart was beating like thunder. Even Moshe could feel it pulsate through her hand.
“I felt him, right there in the cockpit. I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. It was the strangest thing. I actually shouted!” he grinned. He felt the same joy again in the telling.
In that moment, Tasha’s response was quick and to the point. She kissed him with more love than ever. Their spiritual lives were suddenly on the same plane.
Now, two days after his announcement he could smile, even as a pair of deadly MiG 29s took a parallel course less than a mile to his north. Fear was no longer a factor. Moshe knew he was seeing the scriptures fulfilling themselves before his eyes, and he was a living participant in God’s prophetic plans. With that knowledge, he could stare the enemy in the face. However, this wasn’t the moment to start a war. Seeing no hostile moves by the Russians, he and Rueben turned their Lightnings toward the south and away from the Lebanese border.



Jimmy Root Jr
Author: DISTANT THUNDER and the AWARD WINNING MAGOG RISING
Books One and Two of the Lightning Chronicles

$15 per Copy...SIGNED!
Buy several for the same shipping rate as ONE! Give them as gifts.
OR
Send a check to Jimmy Root Jr PO Box 112, Smithville, MO 64089
(add $5.00 for shipping)

MAGOG RISING
is the READERS FAVORITE 2010 National Writing Competition SILVER MEDALIST in the Christian Fiction Genre
ORDER NOW
Visit:
http://www.lightningchronicles.com/
Toll Free at 1866 909-2665
Or use the above address to send a check for $18.00 (includes shipping) and ask for Magog Rising...or get both books....SIGNED!
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