The Last Disciple [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Hank Hanegraaff & Sigmund Brouwer
eBook Category: Spiritual/Religion
eBook Description: What if the Antichrist has already been revealed? The first book in a gripping new series by best-selling authors Sigmund Brouwer and Hank Hanegraaff explores the lives of Christians who struggle to survive and spread the Gospel during the climactic turbulence of "the last days." With the enemy seeking to decipher the code of John's letter, Revelation, and destroy the church, believers must cling to the hope Revelation provides as they face the greatest of all persecutions. A spellbinding story of faith and fulfillment of prophecy. Discover the "code" of Revelation as you begin to see it through the eyes of the persecuted believers to whom it was written.
eBook Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers/Tyndale House
Fictionwise Release Date: March 2005
1 Reader Ratings:
Tyndale House, the publisher of the Left Behind books, the megaselling Christian series about the end times, now presents a new series with a very different interpretation of biblical prophecy. Christian radio-show host Hanegraaff and bestselling CBA novelist Brouwer take readers back to the time of Nero in the first century. As the Roman Empire ruthlessly persecutes Christians, the novel's warrior-hero, Vitas, tries to defend them. But even Vitas can't prevent the destruction of the Jewish Temple?the historical event that sits at the center of this novel. Hanegraaff and Brouwer posit that the Book of Revelation, in code, predicted Roman persecution and the Temple's fall; subsequent novels in the series presumably will walk readers through the rest of Revelation, tying historical events to biblical prophecy. This is, to be sure, middle-brow genre fiction, and not an especially shining specimen thereof. The prose is plodding, with far too many dramatic sentence fragments and a conventional plot. The dialogue tends toward the unsubtly didactic (" 'Jesus, then, uses this rich symbolism?' Darda nodded.... 'You said John was obviously educated. Can you make any other guesses about him?' 'John verges on genius.' ") Despite the series' many flaws, readers who are hungry for apocalyptic fiction may embrace it, though it remains to be seen whether they'll find a first-century apocalypse as gripping as Left Behind's 21st-century one.
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- From Publishers Weekly
At the end of the first day of the new games, the roars of animals and the howling of dying men and women inside the amphitheater were easily drowned out by the applause and cheering of tens of thousands of spectators.
Outside the amphitheater, these were the noises a young Jewish woman named Leah tried to block as she neared the main gates. Her brother was inside, but not one of the spectators.
She'd chosen nondescript clothing for this journey and tried not to look furtive. That was difficult for her. She'd lied to her beloved father to escape their apartment. It was the first time in her memory that she had deceived him. During every step toward the amphitheater, she'd felt as if every person along the way was aware of her vile crime against her father, as if the stain on her soul spread across her face like a disease.
Added to this discomfort was her fear that Gallus Sergius Vitas, a tall and quiet member of Nero's inner circle, might be here. To sustain the courage to make this day's journey, Leah had told herself again and again that even if Vitas was in the amphitheater, with the screaming thousands around him, it was unlikely he would notice her as she slipped past the main gates. Still, as much as she could convince herself of this on an intellectual level, she could not squelch her fear.
She remembered all too clearly the day Vitas had appeared at their home with soldiers to arrest her brother Nathan. Although weeks had passed since that horrible event, the vividness of Vitas' alertness and the piercing quality of his total attention to the sights and sounds around him were still impressed in her memories. It had seemed when he looked at her, standing so relaxed and dignified as he reprimanded the soldiers for prodding Nathan with spears, that he was able to read her very thoughts.
Worse—as she allowed her mind to worry about the presence of Vitas—she realized that here, near the main gates, the street had long since emptied of spectators rushing for seats inside, and now Leah walked alone on the cobblestone street.
Yet hers was not a walk of solitude. Leah was acutely aware of the stares of nearby soldiers who guarded the men and women hanging above her, lining each side of the broad street that led to the entrance of the amphitheater. Alongside charred stumps of posts were new wooden lampposts spaced every ten paces. Men and women dangled from each post, their bound wrists hanging from spikes in the post above their heads, their entire body weight wrenching at their shoulder sockets. As Leah hurried past them, she realized they could only listen to the nearby thunderous cheering and contemplate their own fate.
The soldiers sweated profusely, even while sitting motionless in whatever shade they could find. When a soldier rose occasionally to splash water against his face from a nearby public fountain and groan at the relief, it was a sight and sound that most surely added to the agony of those hanging from the lampposts.
This heat was a form of torture, adding to the excruciating pain of arm sockets slowly pulling loose. But the prisoners could not cry out for water from those passing the fountain. Their lips had been sewn shut to prevent them from disturbing Roman citizens with pleas for help or with shrieks of agony.
Like Leah, who hated her inability to help these tortured men and women, the prisoners knew the purpose they would serve when darkness fell.
Each wore the tunica molesta—a tunic black and gleaming in the sunlight and saturated in tar. Leah could scarcely imagine the suffocating sensation of the thick, heavy garments, soaking up the heat of the sun and clinging to their bodies as the tar oozed against their skin.
Yet beyond the imagination of that agony was one worse.
At sundown, by the orders of Nero, the guards would ignite their tunics so these men and women—the Christians—would become human torches to light the street for the half-drunk Roman revelers returning home at the end of the games.
This was the Great Tribulation. Hell did exist on earth.
Leah's worries about Gallus Vitas were groundless.
He was days and days of travel from Rome, roughly eight hundred miles away, across the mountains, across the Adriatic Sea, across Macedonia, and across the Aegean Sea in the center of an Asian port city called Smyrna. The afternoon had that late brightness that comes with the long rays of sun stretching across the aquamarine of the sea and bouncing up into the hills.
The tavern Vitas entered with Titus Flavius Vespasianus was so well shuttered that oil lamps were necessary for light, as if darkness, still an hour away, had already cloaked the city.
It took less than a minute for silence to settle upon the crowded tavern as, one by one, the patrons noticed the newcomers. The dice and knucklebones at the gaming counter stopped rattling, the prostitutes ended their chatter with the most promising drunks, and the lone singer near an oil lamp in the corner abruptly quit halfway through a verse.
"This is the trouble with visiting the slums," Titus said out of the side of his mouth to Vitas. "One must dress down to fit in. But to do so risks fleas of the worst sort."
Copyright © 2004 by Hank Hanegraaff