War, Peace, And Chardanay
"And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering and to conquer." ~Revelation 6:2
Present day, Winter Garden, FL. Sunday morning, 9/21, 8:00 A.M. 1st of the last 7 years of the end of days.
Believers were not in short supply that Sunday morning, as they poured into Morning Glory church, a large building in the center of town, its white and slightly worn steeple a beacon for those wanting to know the truth, especially now. As Jed walked with his family through the open doors, he scanned the rows and rows of pews, all packed with people bustling around, and found that locating a row with enough space to fit all of them was going to be even more difficult than normal. Although this church, and in particular the head pastor, James Allen, was liked by all the parishioners, what attracted the abnormally massive crowd was this week's sermon, which had been advertised on the sign outside for the past week. Pastor Allen was well-known for being blunt and honest, believing wholeheartedly that the word of God should be taught exactly as it was written, and illustrating that well in his straightforward teachings. For weeks he had been piecing this sermon together, every week leaking hints that it would be the greatest and most important sermon yet, since he had taken over the church over five years ago.
This sermon, which He had titled simply 'The Revelation' would center on that book, and would be, as he had put it last week, "A series without end". Since his sermons all had definitive endings, usually limited to three- or four-part weekly series, "It will be enlightening to all," he had declared, standing tall at the pulpit, his voice strong and passionate, "Those who want to learn, and those who don't, will all be affected. The current state of this world, perfect, peaceful, will with no doubt end."
No one could understand just how peace could be a bad thing. Especially the kind of peace they had been experiencing in the past few years. There were virtually no wars going on In any part of the world, which was shocking, most surprising to all being the middle east, that region which had, not too long ago, been the center of the religious bombings, terrorist attacks, and all out destruction. Only a year ago, Russia, China, Iran and other countries in North Africa, fed up with the U.S. And their Allies, had taken advantage of America's bogged down military system and plotted the demise of the one country who, in their opinion, was the source of every problem: Israel.
Russia had been building and building it's military, Taking over nearby countries in a style not unlike the old USSR days. First the tiny Crimea, then Ukraine. One by one the fell Belarius, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, NATO was powerless. The world had experienced such economic hardship that no countries could handle the joint mission.
China joined Russia after it had been established as the worlds biggest super power, flexing its might by aligning with former NATO allies, building its military to never seen levels, and financially crippling other nations through a cyber campaign that by the time anyone knew what was going on, it was too late to stop them.
Everyone was either on board with the new China-Russia alliance, or was controlled by them, or simply could do nothing due to problems in their own homeland. All that was except for the nation of Israel, and their time had come.
Everyone had predicted that that region, along with the many others that had, at the time, been in turmoil, would virtually cease to exist. But the world had been in for a shock, as they watched and waited for the world to explode, only for nothing to happen. Nothing. Bombs had fallen, Bullets fired, but no one had suffered. It had seemed like the entire thing was just one graphic video game that had just been shut down, with no explanation or reason.
Many people had gotten on board with the idea that this was divine. That God had protected Israel in Biblical fashion. Even some Athiests came around to supporting that theory. Reasoning that no natural explanation could be found, They stopped short of actual worship or repentance, but none the less came on board to the supernatural. All other religions thought that their respective saviors had intervened. The Christians all thought the return of Christ was imminent, The Jews thought their messiah had finally decided to come, the Muslims said the Imam had come, And for the first time all religions were in agreement that at least they were on the same page.
Then in what seemed a moment, peace had come into view, with signed treaties and bitter enemies now calling each other friends. No more borders were crossed, and, most surprising of all, every person, and every different religion was not touched, and all were equally revered and respected. It was an unexplained phenomenon, with no hints or clues as to why, except for one. One man who had swept in and changed the minds of all of them, and ushered in this wonderful peace. The most influential and respected man on the planet, who every politician and world leader had agreed was the right man for the job.
Anthony Chardanay. Charming, unmarried, former politician, and the wealthiest man in the world, he had come in out of nowhere, determined to change the world, and outspoken yet understanding in everything he did or said. He was soon every politician and world leader's friend, and had brought in a solution that had been the culmination of a planet's dream. Peace. Peace, prosperity, and freedom to, as he had said countless times during speeches and interviews, “Live, love and laugh at whim, without fear or worry. The ability to enjoy life the way every person was born to, without worry of money or war. Just plain, blissful peace.” He had been called a dreamer, unrealistic and inappropriate for those desperate times.
But desperate times called for the most desperate measures, and the war weary and helpless world had thrown themselves at him, pleading for him to achieve what he promised. And he had not failed them. Within six months all conflicts had ceased. Economic systems worldwide had skyrocketed in a way no one had ever seen. No one could explain it, but they didn't question a thing. It had seemed, not but a week before, that the peace the world had longed for, sought after, and given everything to gain, had finally been achieved.
As he sat at his overly sized desk, in his overly sized office, Chardanay thought of the world he had brought together, and how quickly he had done it. He also thought of how easy people now submitted to his ideas. As he made his way over to the window where the crowds below gathered to get a glimpse of the most beloved leader the world had ever known, he thought, "Very easy." Chardanay strode confidently to the large desk in the middle of the room where all of his assistants gathered to eagerly await their boss' plans. Every country was represented. All corners of the world sent leaders to get updated as to how the world would finally come together. Translators had never worked harder and seemed to outnumber the actual dignitaries. He began, "Phase 1 is complete, we are now ready for phase 2 which you see is before you." As they rifled through the papers before them, Chardanay walked back toward the window, glanced at the adoring crowd and continued, "And they'll accept it enthusiastically."
The grumbling in church reached a fevered pitch, the theme was basically confusion and anger. Most wondered how peace and prosperity could be a bad thing, some outrightly blasted Pastor Allen as paranoid. They all thought the world was fine and headed for utopia. Until, that is, Pastor Allen had made his bold statements.
Jed heard bits and pieces of conversations as he and his family sat in a row so far back he stretched to see the pulpit. “What's wrong with the world?” a man behind them said, his voice emphasizing his obvious confusion. “We get everything we've ever wanted, and it's wrong?” “There's nothing wrong with it.” A man further back sneered, disgusted, “If this pastor has a problem with the best society there is to have, he doesn't have to have any part of it. But he's not going to guilt me into thinking that I'm wrong.”
Were they wrong? Jed sat back in his seat and pondered that one. He didn't know, but he, like all the others. It was an unexplained event that needed clarifying. A sudden war, an even more sudden peace, and the man who had brought it all together, and then, like a mysterious hero, slipped back into his own life, known and loved as the man who had saved the world.
Island of Patmos, 96 A.D.
Joy and fear gripped John simultaneously as he remembered Jesus breaking the first seal. The force that would culminate with the arrival of the Anti-Christ was released. The force of world peace by submission. What the planet would have to endure, and for how long, was his fear. The misunderstanding of peace was his main concern. Jesus had spoken of the peace he brought and will bring in the future. The peace he brought was an everlasting peace that was internal. The peace of knowing salvation and a saving grace. Now, however, this peace was frightening. People were, and he assumed would be more so in the future, tired of war and bloodshed, and would surrender any freedoms and liberties for a peace that would end all conflicts. Two vastly different definitions of peace. He prayed people would learn the difference before it was too late.
His joy was at the realization that Jesus was the conquering king who would defeat evil and all the satanic forces that would try, for untold years, decades, centuries, or millenia to force the world into Satan's control. Abject sadness was the victorious emotion as he wrote. Sadness for those who would choose the world over God, and be cast into eternal damnation.