Chapter 5

Laodicea and Prophecy

Present day, Orlando,FL. Monday 9/15, 5:30 A.M.     1st of the  last 7 years of the end of days. 

Bob Edwards opened his eyes at precisely 6:02 that morning, a habit that hadn't changed in forty years. Bob never needed an alarm clock; he had been more than disciplined even before the Navy had gotten to him. However, that training had sealed it. He would never own an alarm clock, and he had equal certainty that would there be no Mrs. Edwards to wake him.

As Bob often told anyone who happened to cross his path, no woman could ever tame him. He awoke alone, to his peaceful, orderly world. The world that he controlled, just how he liked it. It was understating it to say he wasn't a people person. A person didn't have to know him five seconds to realize that, unless they were a particularly naive individual, and then he was sure to inform them. The only instance he enjoyed, or even relished, human interaction was when he was the boss.

That was what Bob loved about his job, the only thing that had come close to his love of a naval officer's life. Bob was the owner of the local Christian bookstore. Owner. That thought was enough to make him smile with contentment as he sat up, more than ready for the day ahead, as he was with every other. Nothing made him happier than being the boss, the indispensable one everybody needed. Not only that, but he considered himself the best-read Christian around, and he wasn't shy about telling people. At work he had limitless opportunities to display his knowledge, whether it was answering a customer's question, or explaining things that his employees and friends didn't understand, his intellect and eloquence never failing to leave them speechless.

But most of all, Going to work every day was the highlight of his life. He was the center of the universe at work, and that pleased Bob to no end. Within fifteen minutes he was set and ready to start his day, which began the same as every other: breakfast, scripture memorization, local news, out the door. Prompt and efficient, the way it would always be.  But getting to work was always the top priority, and he was there before long.

Bob liked to get there at least an hour before opening to ensure that it was an immaculate display of order. His employees always thought him the miracle worker for having the store so perfect every day after they had seen it less-than-perfect upon leaving the night before. Today would be no exception. This was the beginning of a week-long sale that would see a store wide reduction in all inventory. He knew that when the store opened, pandemonium would ensue, and he wanted everything to be perfect. This was the third year in a row for what had become an annual event called, "Bob's Holy Week".

Before then, this had been his slowest time of year. A man with lesser intelligence might have faced financial trouble in the situation he had found himself in. Not Bob. His marketing of the town was pure genius, and they had responded perfectly, flooding the store every year for the best deals in town. As he now unlocked the front door of his store, he breathed in the familiar atmosphere, and got chills. This was his wheelhouse, and it thrilled him not just now, but every day of his life. "Save souls, and make a bundle in the process" he thought contentedly as he opened the register and stocked it with cash. When he had opened those doors for the first time three years ago, he had seen it. It had been an abandoned former antique shop, and something anyone else would have overlooked. But he was different. Only a man so sure of his capabilities would have taken any of the chances Bob had taken throughout his life. But if he was sure of one thing, it was his abilities, and he never doubted himself for a second. 
    Ten minutes to eight the door opened, and
Jimmy Parker walked in, with the eager and innocent look of a nineteen year old. Jimmy was still training, and trying vigorously to master the front counter, despite his knack for locking up the computer. Bob was Jimmy's mentor. The young man was just starting his first semester in Bible college, and wanted more than anything to be just like Bob, displaying his admiration by following him around incessantly. While this would annoy most people, Bob thrived on the attention, which gave yet another dimension of his superiority. To a man who loved more than anything to show anyone who would listen the extent of his knowledge, when given an audience, all be it an audience of one, he was right at home.
    As the customers rolled in, Bob was right at home, basking in the glow of the questions from each patron, and giving personal attention to every one. Another thing he was especially proud of was his ability to act. There was never a sense of customer service in his natural behavior, but his assistance was purely to further his reputation as the expert, the authority, and the object of admiration.

Every customer thanked him for his help, when it was he who felt he'd been given something, yet another display of wisdom. To all, that is, except one. To Bob, the obviously homosexual man who had just purchased a book seemed out of place in a Christian bookstore. Especially his bookstore, he thought with indignation as he watched the man walk to his car. Tim Gordon, that was what he had introduced himself as. Bob would be on the lookout for him, and if that man had any intelligence in him, he would stay away from Bob and his store.
  "I hope that guy changes his ways before the rapture, or he's in trouble." Bob told Jimmy, who was standing next to him. 
  Jimmy looked at him with innocent curiosity,
 "What do you mean?" 
   "I mean that gay people ain't getting into heaven, the Bible says so."
  "Really?" Jimmy's eyes widened as this new piece of information was entered into his mind, "Where?"
  Bob naturally was more than happy to show him all the verses against homosexuality, knowing where they all were by heart. And Jimmy was naturally impressed at Bob's knowledge of scripture, just as he always was. He, like others, thought following Bob's example was the path to take if you wanted to be a good Christian. Bob knew it all, and told it all.

  What Bob did not realize was that his sins were piled as high as Tim Gordon's were. What he also did not know, was how to apply his Biblical knowledge to his life. Bob's relationship with God was non-existent. He was a head-smart Christian by every definition of the words. All his knowledge could not stop his prejudging or Lukewarm thoughts on Christianity. He was not on fire for God, he was on fire for his own entertainment, recognition, and status. Hot for book smarts, and cold for Jesus. All his knowledge could not prepare him for what was coming. Bob was a perfect picture of a Laodiceans in a modern world.

 ~ 96 A.D. Island of Patmos.
As John began to write what would eventually be known as chapters four through six of the book of Revelation, he could not help but feel anguish toward what was eventually to come. Though he wished he could know when this would happen, so he might warn the many believers he felt personal love for, he did not know. All he knew was that the world was in for unbelievable trouble. They were to face trials, judgment, and great tribulation the likes of which mankind had never seen. Although he didn't understand everything he saw, he articulated it as best as he could for a first century man. After all, he was transported to heaven to see these events as they would unfold in the end times, and though it was not clear to his limited exposure what he was seeing, he did know that horrible times would come. And the one thing The Lord did make clear was that he was not saying it "might come" or "you could avoid it if you tried" It was coming. It was easy for John; he had walked with Jesus and seen the sacrifice he had made for the world. He had watched him rise from the dead, and ascend into heaven. It was the future generations that had not witnessed these events personally that John felt for the most. He remembered one of Jesus' quotes: "You have seen and believed. God bless those who have not seen and yet believe." But it was another thought that John had that shook him to his core. "God help those who refuse to repent, before it's too late."

Chapter 6