This week's selection begins with Judd, who used to be a mini-Rayford but now is essentially an empty expanse where a character should be. Like I said before, can you name any of Judd's personality traits? Anything he loves besides God and Vicki?
Now what is Judd doing? He's working on the website and sending emails to his obligatory love interest aka Vicki.
But Judd also knew the Global Community was monitoring anything coming from suspected Judah-ites. Tsion Ben-Judah’s Web site was a popular destination for GC officials who wanted to see the latest on the “enemy camp.” Anything posted on the kids’ Web site had to be checked and rechecked to make sure it didn’t give out vital information.
Yeah...anyone with computer know-how wanna tell Ellanjay that even if you leave out any place-specific details in your posts, the government can still easily track your website? I am totally not computer-literate (my problem-solving involves mostly turning it on and off) but even I know that.
Judd gets an email from Naomi telling him about how Sam and Mr. Stein have gone to Tel Aviv. Basically it says she's worried and wants Judd to pray for them. So at least they didn't have Judd instantly know that Sam and Mr. Stein were in Tel Aviv. Maybe that proves that Ellanjay don't believe that RTCs have hive minds like the Borg.
Judd browses the web some more and we see more proof as to why Nicky's better than God. I thought about quoting the entire passage but it'd be a bigass quote so I'll just sum it up. Basically one of the False Prophets puts on a show, taking the water, which as you recall was turned to blood by our loving God and rendered undrinkable, and he makes it clear and drinkable again. So as said before: Is it any wonder everyone chooses to follow Satan? Satan is using his supernatural powers to do good and save people from dying, whereas God poisons and kills everyone. But then again, I'm one of those weirdos who thinks that Matthew 7:15-20 was probably more along the lines of "Beware of David Koresh and people like him," rather than "Beware of magical super people who use their powers to save people rather than letting them die like God intended."
We do finally cut in on Sam and Mr. Stein in Israel. If you're wondering, rather than taking one look at them and shipping them off to the guillotine, which would be the sensible thing to do, the GC has decided to imprison them because that totally worked in the past and there's certainly no chance that Sam and Mr. Stein will take the opportunity to grandstand and convert their fellow prisoners.
Turns out since Mr. Stein and Sam identified themselves as Jews (sheesh...you'd think they'd take this opportunity to proudly proclaim the gospel of RTCianity), they're going to be shipped off to camps where they'll be starved and tortured, as opposed to being guillotined like all the other RTCs. Sad part is I'm so used to the Incredible Stupidity that is the characteristic of all characters written by Jerry Jenkins that most of my objections are related to the whole transfer thing. Why can't they be tortured and starved at the holding center where they're currently at? Why must you make everything so needlessly complicated, Nicky?
Sam counts about seventeen men on the cell block with them. Some have the Mark, but most are Jews and I'm assuming Sam can tell at a glance that they're Jews because they all have forelocks and kippahs and they are all eating bagels and shouting "Oy Vey," at various intervals. Because that's what Jews do.
Anyway, Mr. Stein leads them in The Prayer, but only three of the seventeen have the God-Mark. I'm going to guess that as for the rest, Mr. Stein just zinged them and made them Unitarians.
But anyway, Sam drifts off to sleep.
Next chapter, Sam wakes up at 4 a.m. to see this guy standing in the door of his cell:
Sam resisted the urge to scream, but his eyes widened and his heart raced furiously. Sam was sure he had never seen this stranger. He wore sandals, a long, flowing robe, had a short beard and piercing eyes. He had no mark, either of the true believer or of Carpathia.
And that man was Charles Manson. And now you know the rest of the story.
Sam asks the guy if he's taking them for the transport. The man shakes his head. Sam, continuing to be dumber than most plant life, is like "Then why are you here?" The man responds:
“I come in the name of the Lord our God. He is strong and mighty to save. Though the evil one is set on the destruction of the people of God, he will not touch you. There are many praying for you and your friends.”
Sam, in response, is like I'm not worthy! and points out that others have died and why should he be saved? But the angel apparently wants Sam to keep writing his blog because there are few things more important than some blog written by a teenager? Hey, Angel Dude? Why didn't you bother to save Chloe given that she runs the magical Co-Op on which all the RTCs depend on for, y'know, survival? But then again, Ellanjay probably put Chloe in charge of the Co-op because they think running a co-op during the freakin' apocalypse is light work and therefore can be easily handled by a weak, womanly female.
I'm trying to figure out if this little part, where an angel is dispatched to rescue a blog-writer, is more egomaniacal than M. Night Shyamalan casting himself as a writer destined to save humanity. Seriously how is it that he keeps getting his crappy films made? He made one good movie and each subsequent one has been worse than the one that proceeded it. He's basically the Wile E. Coyote of directors. [/Shyamalan rant]
Where was I? Anyway, Angel Dude leads Sam out of his cells, lets out Mr. Stein, Aron, and the unnamed converts, leaving the others on the block to suffer and die at the hands of the GC. Even though Sam and Mr. Stein and the unnamed converts have said The Prayer so no matter what happens, they're going to Heaven. Shouldn't Angel Dude focus his efforts on the unsaved prisoners? Y'know for people who go on and on about how they have no fear of death because of Jesus, they sure have a huge fear of death.
During this little story, they reference Acts 12:6-8. For those too lazy to click on the link, what happens is that an angel sets Peter free after he's imprisoned. Thing is I have to object to it being referenced in this series. Peter wasn't just a posturing Alpha Male who sat around and waited for Jesus while smirking about how he's got it all figured out; Peter actually did stuff and was eventually martyred for it.
But anyway, they get outside the prison and Sabir is waiting for them in a minivan. Apparently Sabir also received a visit from Angel Dude.
Sabir explained that he had been awakened from a dead sleep and told to come to the GC station. “I got in my little car and a man stood before me, shaking his head. He pointed to this vehicle, and I found the keys in the ignition. If I had brought the small one, we never would have been able to fit all of you in.”
Again, it's amazing the fact that RTCs credit God with helping them with all sorts of small stuff like finding them a parking space, yet when it comes to big stuff, like y'know feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless, they respond with that non-biblical proverb: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves.
Anyway, Sabir's plan is to take them to the airport after which they'll be flown back to the safety of Petra. So what purpose did this little plot cul-de-sac in Tel Aviv serve? And don't say "It allowed Ellanjay to pad out the books further and make even more money even though they're probably richer than Croesus at this point."
Anyway on the ride to the airport, this conversation happens and I'm quoting it for a reason that should be apparent.
As they drove near where the miracle fair had taken place, Aron touched the window and looked out sadly. “What about Joel? Is there no hope?”
“Your brother made a foolish decision,” Mr. Stein said. “He closed himself to the truth and took the mark of Carp—”
And here's where my brain, well, the only way to describe its reaction is with the record-scratch sound effect. And I tried to cut back on the profanity, but I'm afraid I have no choice.
FUUCK YOU, ELLANJAY, BECAUSE THAT'S NOT WHAT JOEL DID! HE TOOK THE FUCKING MARK SO HE AND HIS BROTHER WOULDN'T FUCKING STARVE TO DEATH BECAUSE APPARENTLY FEEDING THE HUNGRY AND SHELTERING THE HOMELESS ISN'T WHAT CHRISTIANS DO IN THIS SERIES! EVEN THOUGH IT'S BASICALLY WHAT JESUS WOULD DO! INSTEAD, CHRISTIANS DO THE ALL-IMPORTANT JOB OF SITTING ON THEIR ASSES AND WAITING FOR GOD ONLY OCCASIONALLY BOTHERING TO PULL JUVENILE PRANKS ON A GUY WHOSE SUPPOSED TO BE WORSE THAN HITLER, STALIN, AND POL POT![/ragedump]
Okay, now that I've gotten that out of my system, let's continue. Aron, proving that he's still a dirty Jew what with his compassion for his heathen brother and not a good RTC, says essentially, "But I was just as closed off to the truth and Joel only took the Mark so I wouldn't starve to death."
And I'm going to quote Mr. Stein's response in its entirety. Because it needs to be seen.
Mr. Stein turned. “We spoke with your brother before you came in. He seemed upset we had even come. He countered our message at every point.”
Yeah, how dare that filthy Jew not immediately accept your recycled talking points cribbed from about a thousand other RTCs. The very nerve of him, digging deep into his own traditions and experience and trying to engage you in honest inquiry as opposed to just going "Shit! Baptize me now!" like a character in a Jack Chick tract.
Aron, still refusing to do the Christian thing and say "He made his choice: now let him burn" says that Joel was angry at himself and knew what they'd say about God.
Sam says essentially that "I know you love your brother but he turned us into the authorities and we can't go back for him."
Aron buries his head in his hands and says his heart breaks for him. Sam decides to comfort him by telling him this:
“My father also made a foolish choice and died before I could speak with him again. I’m so sorry.”
"And now my father is burning in Hell where he'll be tortured over and over again and experience suffering on a level that can't be imagined because Our God is a loving god."
:grinds teeth: The only thing worse than the LB-verse is Lisa aka that one Jack Chick tract that is so messed up that not even Jack Chick will keep it in print. I suppose I should provide trigger warnings for that link, but there aren't enough trigger warnings in the world for that link! In fact, I'm starting to wonder if maybe Hell is that Chick Tract for all eternity. No fire and brimstone, just that one tract with the most fucked-up moral in history.
Anyway, they get aboard the plane (flown by Mac, of course) and arrive in Petra. The love-bombing commences as they're all greeted warmly. And Chaim, still calling himself Micah, gives a prayer.
Micah prayed for Jews who were being arrested around the world. “You know, Lord, that these people are being mistreated and killed simply because they have Jewish ancestors. The Global Community considers them traitors, and they are being paraded across international television, humiliated every day. We ask that you would surround these with your love and mercy, and show them the truth that you want them to turn from their sin and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.”
Given that their sins consist of being MOTHERFUCKING JEWS! I don't understand why Ellanjay are shocked, shocked when you accuse them of being anti-Semites even though their most fervent desire is that the Jews stop being Jews aka the branch of theology that launched the Inquisition, pogroms, and to top it all off, the Holocaust.
Mr. Stein then steps up, gives the standard altar call, and asks that Aron's parents, Rabbi Ben-Eliezar and Mrs. Ben-Eliezar come forward. They do and
The chapter ends with this:
“Their other son was unfortunately caught up in the desire to follow Nicolae Carpathia, but we can rejoice that this one has believed and has returned.”
A great roar rose from the crowd as they yelled their praises to God. When the noise died down, Mr. Stein looked at the struggling group near Sam. “What about you? Will you receive the gift of God now?”
I'll mention while Aron's been all weepy, he hasn't yet said The Prayer; thus his saved status is still up in the air. But you know what will happen: eventually he'll see the light, abandon the faith of his fathers, and never give a thought to Joel as he slowly
burns in Hell for taking the Mark to save his brother's life.
Everything about this series is reprehensible, so reprehensible that I'm in danger of overusing the F-bomb to the point where it loses its power. Anyone know any foreign swears I can throw in to spice things up?