no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come
a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.
2 Thessalonians 2:3, KJV
‘By the grace of the
Almighty, the great Monarch will annihilate heretics and unbelievers. He will
have a great army, and angels will fight at his side.
He will be like the sun among
His influence will spread
over the whole Earth.’
- St. Francis of Paola (15th
The scream chilled his blood. Hanz rushed towards the closed door and
hesitated before opening it. Was he prepared for what he was about to see?
He slowly opened the door and peered around it into the vast and
beautifully furnished room. His master stood in the middle of the room, swaying
from side to side while his eyes darted around wildly.
‘He...he...he was here!’ he gasped.
Hanz noticed that his master’s lips were whiteand that sweat was streaming down his face. He couldn’t
believe his eyes. The swaying man—at most times a very intimidating person—was
now nothing more than a broken down man;pathetic
looking and almost childlike in nature.
Hanz slowly reached out to his master. He had never before seen him
shaken up like this. What on Earth is
going on? Hanz wondered. The sweat,
the wild eyes darting about, searching—something had scared his employer out of
‘Sir?’ he asked and gently touched the man’s shoulder and in an instant Hanz
lay sprawled across the carpet, a few feet from the man he had just touched. A
force so violent that it almost knocked him out cold had flung him across the
room as if he was nothing more than a mere rag doll.
‘Mein Herr?’ Hanz managed to utter with what strength he had left.
He looked at his master who had now begun to reel off numbers and odd,
broken off words that were entirely void of meaning or sense. He used strangely
composed and entirely non-German word formations. Then, eventually, the man
stood quite still, only his lips moving. Gradually he grew calm and dismissed
Once Hanz left the room, his master went to bed and fell into a very
Germany: April, 1932 (Seven
‘What exactly happened that night, Meister?’ Hanz asked. ‘Who or what
did you see?’
The man that Hanz addressed as ‘master’ sat silently for a moment,
stroking his moustache and staring intently atthe
wall across the room. Minutes felt like hours, and he finally spoke in a soft,
almost quivering voice. ‘The new man is among us,’ he
said. ‘He is here!’ He paused and darted his eyes about the room, as if
searching for someone; or something. ‘I will tell you a secret,’ he finally said,
his voice slightly above a whisper. ‘I have seen avision
of the new man; fearless and formidable! I shrank from him! I was afraid!’
Hanz was confused. ‘The new man?’ He could see unadulterated fear in his
master’s eyes; something he had only ever seen that evening in September; and
Who could manage to scarethis man so?This man that stood up against Hindenburg himself
duringthe voting rounds in March and April,
despite overwhelming odds. Sure, Hindenburg won the elections, but still his
master stood tall and proud, more determined than ever.
Adolf Hitler stood up and glared at Hanz and it felt as if Hitler’s eyes
bore holes into his retinas. Hanz could feel an invisible force drain the
strength from his body.
‘We are never to speak of that night again, Hanz. Do you understand me?’
‘I… I understand…’ Hanz uttered, weakened.
‘Good!’ Hitler said and broke his gaze as he turned to leave the room.
Hanz could only breathe deeply as his strength slowly returned.
‘We do not want another committee. We have too many already. What we want is a man of sufficient stature
to hold the allegiance of all people and to lift us out of the economic morass
into which we are sinking. Send us such a man and whether he be God or devil,
we will receive him.’
- Paul-Henri Spaak,
Secretary-General of NATO, 1957
It was a hard day at work for Trevor Elliot. His eyes burned from the
constant glare of his computer screen. He spent his day solving Internet
problems over the telephone and found the customers’ relentless queries
numb fingers turned the keys to his apartment door and he heaved the door open
with exaggerated effort.
day,’ Trevor sighed as he slumped comfortably onto the sofa in front of his
television. He kicked off his shoes and, with exaggerated effort, reached for
the remote control next to him. As he suspected, all the channels were covering
the birth of the new media giant: Global Media Network. The network was
the result of a global merger between all Television, Print, Radio, Internet
and news related businesses, be they private or government institutions. Those
not willing to join the GMN team were forced to shut their doors.
in to GMN,’ the voiceover boomed, ‘and become involved as we cover all
the news, all over the world, all the time.’
the tax payers pay your ridiculous salaries,’ Trevor mused. They had a complete
channel to themselves seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. They also
pulled the best crew from various media sources and doubled their salaries. The
conspiracy theorists yelled ‘Big Brother’ from day one, claiming that GMN was the
government’s method of brainwashing the masses. Trevor couldn’t care less. He
just wanted the news without all the fuss; and while talk shows on all the
other channels covered the merger, GMN covered the news.
Let’s see how good these guys are, Trevor thought as he turned up the volume.
police say that the double suicide bombing earlier today claimed the lives of at
least seventeen people. The identities of the victims will be released once
their next of kin have been notified. Israeli troops are positioned at the
border, and all Palestinians are subjected to a thorough search whenever
entering Israeli territory. This has been the ninth suicide bombing in just
four days, and Israel’s Prime Minister, David Cohen, will release a formal
statement at 9 PM, Standard Eastern Time.’
don’t they just nuke the whole lot?’ Trevor asked aloud and rolled his eyes. He
couldn’t understand why the Israelis would allow this to happen and not
retaliate. If he had been in some position of power, he would have shoved
hundreds of tanks down the Palestinian leader’s throat by now.
European Union’s bid to create what they call a ‘United Europe,’ was
stalled today as three countries, Egypt, Britain, and Iran were in deadlock
about converting to the Euro as their primary currency. The United Europe would
consist of countries currently within the EU, as well as some outside its
borders. A spokesperson for the European Union said that the United Europe
would be built on the blueprint of the old Roman Empire, which included Egypt
and Iran as two of its member countries. European Union negotiators will try to
convince the leaders of the three countries to join their efforts in what the
EU refers to as: a Greater Empire.’
flipped through the rest of the channels, wondering if there would be
something, anything, that he could watch instead, but before he realised
it, he was back on GMN.
major Earthquake wreaked havoc in India today as highways were ripped open, and
buildings came crashing down to their foundations. The quake struck earlier
this morning, just after ten o’ clock, and measured seven point nine on the
Richter scale. The death toll is currently standing at twenty thousand while
thousands more are missing.
country has turned to the United Nations for financial assistance to provide
food and shelter for those left homeless or have been injured by the quake.’
flipped through the channels again, and again there was nothing interesting on
except the hype around the GMN merger. After watching a quick interview with
the broadcasting manager of GMN, Trevor returned to the news.
struck as almost all the members of the religious cult group known as The Oracle of David committed mass
suicide today. According to eye witness reports, their leader, John—no known
last name—shot seven of his eight ‘elders’ before setting their communal home
on fire. He then turned the gun on himself. Tune in next week as we interview
the sole survivor of this terrible ordeal.’
How stupid can one person be to fall for garbage like
that? Trevor thought as he
contemplated making himself a quick something to eat.
has been arrested for raping and killing a three-year-old girl. Her badly
mutilated body was discovered last week in a field near the outskirts of Cape
Town, South Africa. When asked by prosecutors why he did it, 27-year-old Joseph
Kanizene merely shrugged and claimed that a ‘witch doctor’ told him that raping
and killing the girl would cure him of Aids.
has been the four hundred and fifty-sixth reported case in only six months,
with the number climbing daily. Kanizene’s medical records indicate that he is still
HIV positive, and the local community are demanding the reinstitution of the
death penalty at the—’
television went black as Trevor pushed the power button on the remote. He had
just lost his appetite. ‘What is this world coming to?’ he sighed. As he sank
deeper into the sofa, he closed his eyes for a quick nap.
- - -* * *- -
Four Months Later
Victor Sammael Yoshe took a long, meaningful drag of his cigarette. He
liked doing everything with exceptional style, and even his €350 hair cut was trimmed to perfection, complementing
his €2800 suit as if they were
of the same substance. Every muscle in his body was perfectly toned. In short,
he was the perfect human specimen.
stared at his employer from across the room. Victor had found him in an
alleyway a little over two years ago, drunk and broken. His drinking had
started casually at first, but soon got out of hand. It got worse after his
wife left him, and then his sole mission was to see if he could drink himself
to death. Had Victor not intervened, he probably would have succeeded.
that fateful meeting in the alleyway, Victor had trained Ryan in the martial
arts, taught him how to be a crack shot with any pistol, and even polished his
etiquette. But aside from these life-altering changes that Victor had
introduced to Ryan, one event stood out from all the others, etched into his
memory like the burn marks of a hot poker. It was when Victor caught him in his
private study, placing the rim of a glass against his lips as he tried to drink
some of the most expensive liquor on Earth.
perfect stride and emotional control, Victor had walked over to Ryan, extended
his hand toward the broken man, and said, ‘Be healed, and drink no more.’ Just that. Nothing else. He
said those six simple words and left the room, leaving Ryan standing there with
glass in his hand, looking at the golden liquid as if it was gasoline. He
hadn’t touched a drop since, and probably never would again. Although Victor
himself still consumed large amounts of alcohol at some of his extravagant
dinner parties, Ryan never flinched. He just simply didn’t need to drink anymore.
was more of a personal assistant to Victor than a bodyguard, but he still
fulfilled both roles. It wasn’t as if Victor needed a bodyguard; it was more a case of keeping up the appearance
that he did. Ryan didn’t mind being a lug-for-hire, as the job included lodging
in Victor’s multi-billion Euro mansion, meeting world famous movers and
shakers, and also earning more in one month than half the world population did
in an entire year.
shifted his gaze from Victor and examined the figure sitting opposite him more
carefully, studying the man’s body language for any signs of unusual behaviour.
So far, there were none. The figure was the Egyptian President, Ahud Somlal,
and unlike Victor, he actually did
need bodyguards. He had two of them standing behind him, towering over him like
sentinels. They are brutes, Ryan
thought, but I could take them out in
less than fifteen seconds. Ahud himself was a short, stocky man with greasy
hair and sported a show-me-the-money
look. He clutched his whiskey glass tightly with his stubby fingers as if it
was the most precious thing on Earth. Spittle flew from his mouth every time he
let me see if I understand you correctly, Mr. Yoshe,’ the Egyptian President
smiled warmly, and waited patiently for Ahud to recap the last hour’s
European Union sent you to convince me to change the primary currency of Egypt
to the Euro, and to join this ‘United Europe.’ Is that correct?’
this United Europe will be divided into ten regions. Am I right?’
are,’ Victor said, still smiling warmly.
return for my...involvement...in this United Europe, you will make me the leader of one of those regions, no?’
is correct, President.’
will be granted free reign within my appointed region?’
would be able to touch so much as a hair on your head,’ Victor said. ‘But you
do, of course, understand that you will fall under the jurisdiction of the
United Europe, which will also be referred to as the European Empire.’
European Empire,’ Ahud said as he painted a picture of it in his mind. ‘And I
will be emperor over—’
like king,’ Victor corrected him
quickly. ‘A title which, I am sure, is more fitting to royalty such as
flatter me, Mr. Yoshe,’ Ahud said and studied the tall, charismatic gentleman
in silence for a minute. He rubbed the stubble on his chin as images of royalty
flashed through his mind. The European Union had sent many negotiators to him
before, but something about Victor just felt
right. He couldn’t figure out exactly what it was, but he liked it, and he
wanted more of it.
then, Mr. Yoshe,’ Ahud said and extended his sweaty palm toward Victor. ‘I am
pleased to say that we have a deal.’
took the President’s hand in a firm grip. ‘Let’s drink to it, shall we?’ he
said and exposed his perfect teeth while he lifted his half-filled glass into
the air. Ahud followed suit, and their glasses connected with a soft cling.
- - -*
* *- - -
Jerusalem: Passover, Three Years Later
The wind swung the wooden window frame open and shut, causing it to
crash with a loud thunk sound each
time it slammed back. A storm was brewing and Malcolm Freedman could smell the
coming rain as he reached over to close the window.
paused to look at the clouds forming on the horizon and whistled softly. This is going to be a heavy one, he
thought to himself as he locked the latches on the windows. Rain mainly fell
during the winter season in Israel, and it was strange to see a storm of this
magnitude in spring.
distance, lightning bolts danced around playfully across the lavender sky as
they set off little rumbles of laughter.
was ready for the Seder; the table settings, the food, the candles, as well as
the wine glass and plate, set aside for the prophet Elijah each year. Elijah,
it is believed in certain groups of Orthodox Jews, is to announce—and prepare
the way for—the long awaited Messiah. No one really knew when Elijah was going
to make his appearance, or at which household, but everyone felt that it was going to be soon, and
hoped that it would be theirs. Families had faithfully set aside Elijah’s plate
and cup for generations, and had—since the early 90’s—begun to fill it with
food and wine.
looked at the eating utensils. They were the finestand
were never used on any day during the year other than this day. It had been a
wedding gift from his wife’s parents but, because of its value, Mary and
Malcolm had decided to use it only at Seder. Everything else: the plates,
napkins, wine glasses, and even the glass used for the water, were of
exceptional quality, yet it still couldn’t match the elegance and style of the
utensils. Malcolm took his seat at the table. The Seder was ready to commence.
the daughter of Zion come forward and kindle the festival lights,’ Malcolm
recited. ‘As these lights are lit in Jewish homes throughout the world, we
usher in the Passover of the Lord.’
wife lit the candles.
waited until his wife was seated again before continuing, ‘At Passover we drink
from our cups of wine four times. Each cup symbolizes a vital element of the
telling: Sanctification, Plague, Redemption, and Praise. As we lift our first
cup together, let us remember that we are sanctified by our relationship with HaShem,
and praise Him, saying:’
and their two children; Angie, eight, and Timothy, sixteen, joined in and said
along with Malcolm, ‘Blessed are you, O Lord, HaShem, King of the Universe,
Creator of the Fruit of the Vine.’
moment of silence, Malcolm concluded, ‘Let us drink together this first cup of
the Passover.’ He raised his cup, placed it to his lips, and drank.
and the children followed his exampleand drank
from their own cups.
drinking the wine, Malcolm dipped his fingertips in the wash bowl and dried
them with a cloth. He passed the bowl to Mary, who did the same, and then
passed the bowl to the children.
parsley,’ he said as he held a piece in the air, ‘represents the newness of
life, created by HaShem, which begins to bloom around us at this season of the
year. It reminds us that HaShem is a faithful provider of sustenance for His
raised the bowl containing salt water up high, and concluded, ‘And yet the
children of Israel were in bondage, toiling under cruel taskmasters to build
palaces for Pharaoh. This salt water represents the tears of affliction that
come in life. Let us dip our vegetables in the salt water and reflect on the
mystery that, even in the midst of HaShem’s provision, life is sometimes
immersed in tears.’
they said the blessing again.
eat the parsley together,’ Malcolm finished.
they ate the parsley.
four questions asked at the Seder meal each year followed next. Malcolm asked
Timothy the first question, Angie the second, again Timothy the third, and Angie
the last. Usually, only the youngest member of a family would answer the
questions, but because they had such a small family, Malcolm felt it best to
include Timothy. It also took some of the pressure off Angie.
the questions, Malcolm read his part of the Passover story. Mary and each of
the children also had their separate sections of the story to read. The rest of
the ceremonies proceeded perfectly according to the routine that they so
diligently followed each year, and Malcolm was surprised at how Angie had
improved since the last Seder.
fill our cups again,’ Malcolm announced and raised his cup. ‘This is the cup of
redemption. By tradition, it represents the blood of the Passover lamb.’
drinking, Malcolm held up the cup set aside for Elijah.
year we make a place at our Passover table for Eliyahu Ha’Navi, the prophet
Elijah. Now Elijah did not know death, but was carried into Heaven in a chariot
of fire. The sacred scriptures tell us that the day of the Lord will be
preceded by the return of Elijah.’
and the children quoted Malachi 4:5 together, ‘Lo, I will send the prophet
Elijah to you before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of the Lord. He
shall reconcile parents with children and children with their parents, so that
when I come, I do not strike the whole land with utter destruction.’
Malcolm said, looking at Timothy. ‘Let one of the children go and open the door
to welcome Elijah to our table.’
stood up and walked to the door. He wondered why they kept doing these stupid
routines each year. Everyone knew that Elijah would never return, and even if
he did, he wouldn’t come to their
crummy house. He turned the knob and slowly opened the door, trying to keep the
wailing wind from wreaking havoc in their home. He peered around the door and
stared into the darkness outside, trying to keep his face dry from the pelting
rain. He almost didn’t see the silhouette, but his blood chilled when he did see the outline of the man standing
in front of him. A sudden flash of lightning revealed the huge, burly man and
Timothy fell over backward as he tried to get away.
‘Abba!’ he shouted, followed by a
high-pitched, ‘Help me!’
heart skipped a beat when he saw the man standing at the door. This isn’t happening!It cannot possibly be him!
stepped into the tiny house and closed the door behind him. Malcolm noticed
that neither his hair nor clothes were wet from the rain outside: a miracle in
itself. Timothy scrambled to his feet and ran to his father, who moved the boy
behind his chair as a protective measure. Mary and Angie were paralysed in
their seats, unable to make even the smallest movement or sound.
in peace,’ the big man thundered.
seat then,’ Malcolm gestured toward the table as a test. Maybe the man would
sit in Timothy’s chair, exposing himself as a fraud. ‘And join us for a meal.’
He tried hard to hide the quiver in his voice.
walked to the chair that had been set aside for Elijah, pulled it out, and sat
down in it.
still couldn’t believe his eyes. Even the man’s belt and prayer shawl were
exactly as described in the Torah. He gestured for Timothy to take his seat,
which the boy obediently did.
in Elijah’s seat said a prayer and, without saying anything else, he ate the
food that Mary had prepared for Elijah. He then drank of the wine, and finally
glanced at Mary with a look of satisfaction. He then looked at Malcolm and
their eyes locked. Malcolm was certain that the man could see through his eyes
and right into the very core of his soul. It could have been seconds, but to
Malcolm it felt like hours had passed before the man finally spoke.
The Messiah! ‘Who is?’ Malcolm asked as calmly as he could manage.
coming,’ the man repeated. ‘After a time of terrible sorrow, there shall be
true peace at last.’
violent gust of wind suddenly flung open a window, and it banged so loudly
against the wall that Mary jumped and let out a little shriek. The wind
instantly snuffed the candles. Only the Menorah Lamp’s faint light kept
burning. Malcolm picked up the lamp and transferred the flame to the candles.
Mary had, in the meantime, managed to close the window again, and as the tiny
flame of a candle lit up the room, Malcolm’s eyes searched frantically for his
children to see that they were safe. They were. He then looked at Mary who was
fixing her hair as she sat down again. Finally, Malcolm directed his attention
at the chair that the man had been sitting in.
I wrote the Like Father… blog post on Thursday afternoon before I left the office.
On my way home, I received a phone call from my father’s best friend, saying
that the Hospital called and would like all family and friends to come in. They
said it looked bad—whatever THAT meant.
To be blatantly honest, I didn’t feel it
was as serious as they made it out to be and almost considered not going; but I
called up my sister and we went.
On our way there I thought about the
seriousness of his condition and how it would affect our relationship going
forward. My grandfather had a few strokes and he’s fine, so I didn’t really
It was when I walked into the room that I
realized just how serious (and real) his condition was. There he lay on a bed
with nothing but a blanket over him. His head was burning hot and drenched in
sweat, yet the rest of his body was ice cold. The nurse explained that he
couldn’t talk, but that he might be able to hear us. The way his breathing and
heart rate responded every time I spoke into his ear makes me believe that she
I’ve never seen him that vulnerable, and it
hit home HARD. In my mind, a father is supposed to be a protector and a pillar
of strength. Seeing him like that punched me in the gut and left me reeling. I
felt utterly useless and overwhelmingly sad for him. It slowly started dawning
on me that it might be the very last time that I would ever see him.
The nurse further explained to me that he
had a stroke that led to an aneurysm or something like that. He had blood in
the brain and if they operated on him, he would die on the operating table with
no one there but nurses and doctors. They figured it would be best if he went
surrounded by family and loved ones. She said that it wasn’t a matter of “if”
anymore, and that it was more like a matter of minutes.
She was right.
A few minutes later I saw my father take
his very last breath. We had the funeral on Tuesday.
Although I am extremely saddened by his
passing, I do believe that he was saved, and that gives me great comfort. As I
think back about our times together, I realize that we spent more time
(especially quality time) together than I had initially thought. There are some
AWESOME memories that I can hang on to until we meet again.
I love you dad, and always will. May you
rest in peace…