One Taken, the Other Left

Jamal Byers and his family lived on a cul-de-sac in a residential Chicago-area neighborhood. He was fourteen now and was already taller than most of his friends. That caused people to treat him a lot older than he was, which he both liked and hated at times. Jamal’s mother, Alice, always said he was wise for his age, but she specified that by adding, “When it comes to certain things anyway.”

His dad, Malcolm, on the other hand, didn’t share those feelings. He was always unemotional and disinterested in much of Jamal’s life. And the fact that Jamal had recently discovered that he was a Hebrew Israelite, a true descendant of the great patriarchs and prophets mentioned in Scripture, didn’t help matters.

When he learned who he was, he was both overwhelmed with joy and equally saddened by the fact that the truth had been hidden from his people for so long. But while he and his dad didn’t get along, things grew worse at home when he tried to awaken his parents to the truth of their true heritage.

“We’re the Hebrew descendants that Scripture talks about,” he told his mom and dad while they sat in the living room one night. “Just read Deuteronomy 28 and check out the curses that run from verse 15 to verse 68. We so-called African-Americans, Blacks, and Negroes are the only ones who fulfill all that.”

At first, his father just stared blankly at him, his bottom lip hanging in disbelief. Then he removed his glasses, shut his eyes, and rubbed them while he said, “I knew it. I just knew you were crazy, Jamal.”

Alice Byers placed a gentle hand on her husband’s forearm and squeezed to quiet him. But that didn’t stop Malcolm. He snapped his head in her direction and railed. “This is what he gets from those books you keep buying him. All that garbage is poisoning his mind.”

Jamal had to take a deep breath to keep his composure. “Pops,” he said calmly, “just think about the slave trade for a minute. Everything our people went through lines up perfectly with Scripture, with all the prophecies.”

“Well, I don’t read the Bible. And I’m done hearing this madness,” Malcolm Byers said in frustration before pushing himself up from the sofa and making his way upstairs to his bedroom.

That was six months ago. Since then, Jamal had only spoken to his mother about the subject on occasion, but she merely showed a slight interest. That made him decide to leave her alone. He figured she would approach him about the topic when she was ready. But he wasn’t going to hold his breath.

Jamal had just stepped out into the fresh air and was looking up at a cloudless blue sky in front of his house. It was turning out to be another perfect summer day.

A neighborhood friend had popped up on his doorstep minutes earlier and invited him outside. Jamal took his eyes away from the sky long enough to greet his friend.

“What’s goin’ on Tyrell?” he said to the shorter boy who, as always, had a worried look on his face.

“You seen the news this morning?” was all Tyrell Biggs said in response.

Jamal cast his eyes to the sky again and said, “Nah. Why?”

“Let’s walk, man,” Tyrell said.

The two started along Princeton Ave toward Bent Park. They were in Evanston, Illinois, a quiet suburb about 12 miles north of Chicago.

“What did you see on the news?” Jamal asked.

“These big banks, man,” Tyrell said, “It’s like you’ve been saying.”

“What, they playing with people’s money again?” Jamal asked.

“You know it. Now they’re talking about the dollar’s value. They think it could collapse in a few days.”

“What?” Jamal said. He stopped walking in the middle of the sidewalk, and Tyrell stopped as well and turned to face him.

“Yeah. They showed lines of people trying to get their money out, from actual tellers and ATMs, but the banks are not having it, man. They stopped handing out money today. It’s serious.”

“You know what that means, right?” Jamal said.

Tyrell nodded. “Cashless society next. Like we’ve been talking about all along. Jamal, you are on point with all this info.”

“Praise be to the Most High,” Jamal said, pointing a finger up to the sky. “He leads me to these truths.”

They started walking again and made a left on Central Street. Tyrell dug into his pants pocket and passed Jamal a folded piece of paper.

“What’s this?” Jamal asked as he started to unfold it. Tyrell let the paper speak for itself. On it was a printout of info on a coastal South American town that ranged from population to elevation and crime rate. “This is in Ecuador. But why are you showing me this?”

“I printed it off this website,” Tyrell said. “Lots of Hebrews are grouping up and heading there to escape what’s coming. I don’t want to be here when things get real ugly.”

Jamal shook his head and sighed. “What site did you print this from?”

Tyrell mentioned one of the many alphabet Hebrew Israelite groups that often posted disinformation online to scare flocks of believers into fleeing America. They stopped walking again and faced each other.

Jamal waved the paper in front of Tyrell’s face. “This is that Flee Doctrine. America isn’t the only thing that’s Babylon, Ty. The whole world is Babylon, and Egypt, and Assyria for us. There’s no fleeing it. Remember what the Scripture says. Yah is going to gather us from the four corners of the earth. That means the whole world.”

Tyrell thought about that for a moment, and then he said, “All right, but you know Lot was told to flee Sodom and Gomorrah.”

“That was a different circumstance,” Jamal said as he folded up the paper.

“How so?” Tyrell asked.

“Lot wasn’t in captivity. We are. You have to look at the Egyptian bondage, the ten plagues, and the Exodus to see our situation. Just like the Israelites were protected and freed back then, we’re going to be protected and freed today.” Jamal handed the paper back to Tyrell and added, “Besides, about three weeks ago a major earthquake destroyed that whole area you’re looking at. Hebrews heading there must be out of their minds.”

Tyrell’s face puckered up like he had just sucked on a really sour lemon. “I . . . I didn’t know that.”

“Well now you know,” Jamal said.

They started walking again, in silence this time, and Tyrell took that moment to give some serious thought to a few things. He and Jamal had been friends going on four years now, and Jamal was the one who showed him the truth about who the Hebrew Israelites really were.

Many of Tyrell’s ancestors were slaves. In fact, his family kept copies of a picture of the first freed slave in their family hanging on the walls of their homes, so slavery was something they knew very well. But Tyrell had never looked at it from the angle that Jamal had shown him; that the slaves, who were taken from West Africa, were, in fact, Hebrews who had fled persecution and war in Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Not long after that revelation they had discussed a lot of prophecies that could only be fulfilled by those slaves and their many descendants who, as the Scriptures said, were scattered among the nations during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. It was plain to see. Jamal even showed him a prophecy in Isaiah 42 that said the descendants of Israel would constantly be caught in snares and shut up in prison houses. Tyrell knew of three cousins and two uncles who fit that description to the tee because they were currently in prison serving many years.

Tyrell had accepted the truth about who he was, but it was the other side of that truth that was still a struggle for him. “Being a true descendant of Israel comes with a great responsibility,” Jamal had told him once. “It means living up to the promise of our forefathers to keep the covenant laws that were given at Mount Sinai.” Knowing he was a true Hebrew was well and fine, but the part about keeping all the laws was a major burden for Tyrell, especially the Seventh-day Sabbath and the dietary laws.

Tyrell loved bacon and ham and shrimp and lobster and all manner of unclean animals the Scriptures said was not to be considered as food. And Tyrell had a hard time with the fourth commandment, because Saturday was the best day of the week. And not only was it the most fun day, it was also the one day that allowed him to do all the things he couldn’t do on any other day of the week, but it all involved spending money, and doing his own pleasure, which the Scriptures also spoke against.

During his days as a Christian, he was told he could eat anything he wanted, but he had new light on that subject and saw the plain truth of what was commanded by the Most High himself. But it was really hard to keep the Sabbath and give up eating unclean animals. His heart just wasn’t there yet. But he knew he had to get right with Yah soon, because time was running out, and the world was growing more wicked each day. There was no telling when the window of salvation would close and he would be doomed to live out Revelation 22 verses 10 and 11, which stated:

“And he said unto me, Seal not the words of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is set-apart, let him be set-apart still.”

That was a Scripture passage that really made his knees buckle, and reading it caused him to think twice about eating anything unclean. The verses about torment and judgment were bad enough, but being stuck the way he was really caused him to think long and hard about his actions. He knew he had to change. He had to become the kind of servant Yah expected to see standing before his throne. But he couldn’t do it without prayer and faith and actual effort.

The news about the dollar collapsing also drove a few things home. He had some idea what that would lead to, and the fact that it was recently reported as being right around the corner meant it was time to wake up.

Tyrell snapped out of his thoughts when they got to Bent Park. They headed straight for the basketball court and saw eight other boys practicing jump shots. They were a collection of blacks and Caucasians, and one of the boys—a Hebrew who didn’t know he was Hebrew—pointed in the direction of Jamal and Tyrell and yelled, “Yo, look who’s here.”

The rest of the boys rushed over and surrounded Jamal and Tyrell.

“Where you two been at?” another black boy asked.

“Man forget that,” the first boy said, “Ya’ll here to play or what?”

Jamal shook his head. “Nah. We ain’t here to play. We’re here to tell you”—he pointed to the other three black boys—“all of you, that it’s time to repent and turn back to the Most High. You all are Hebrews, and you better wake up because the kingdom is coming.”

cSalinas, Ecuador

Khalia James peered through her window at the demolished houses that lined the street across from hers. The earthquake that destroyed them had hit three days ago, and every house on her street had been shaken to their foundations and destroyed—every house but the one she lived in.

Some of the houses were now no more than a pile of rubble—much of it concrete blocks, broken bamboo, and shards of glass. She and her two sons were home when the ground started shaking. As she sat in her living room, she saw the juice in her glass begin to swirl on its own, and the chandelier above her swung from side to side. The intensity of the earthquake increased as the seconds passed and it made the whole house sway violently from side to side. Khalia’s first instinct was to grab her young sons from the bedroom they both shared and huddle with them under the dining room table.

That is where they sheltered while the earth rumbled and the house continued to sway and the buildings surrounding their house crumbled to ruins with a great noise. It was the scariest moment of their lives, and Khalia feared that the ground would open up and swallow them alive, or the house would slide down the cliff into the South Pacific Ocean behind them. They prayed through the terrifying event the entire time, asking Yah to protect them, and spare their lives.

Khalia and her two sons were faithful believers, and they were also conscious Hebrews, fully aware of their national identity. Her house was left standing because of this. Yah had answered their prayers.

They had been in Salinas for a year and a week, but now Khalia was ready to go home to America, back to the Babylon she thought she had to escape, thanks to a misguided Hebrew Israelite group to which she once belonged. They posted studies about that very subject online and led others to believe that Ecuador was a great place to flee to.

After seeing the lawlessness and wicked pagan and religious practices of the Ecuadorians who surrounded them, she realized that South America was also Babylon. Many Sabbaths passed where the smells of pork being cooked in the distance wafted over to their house, causing her to feel sick and disgusted.

Worse than that, in every town they drove through, the residents would flock around a statue of Mary, worshipping it. And each year there was even a huge celebration where a feast was dedicated to the nation’s most revered statue of Mary, and Ecuadorians would honor the idol with marching, a fireworks display, and hymns. And they would even carry the statue through the streets on a platform decked with flowers. Khalia and her sons knew this was in violation of the second commandment, and she believed that these actions were the reason for the recent earthquake, the largest one ever experienced in all of Ecuador.

“This is Yah’s judgment,” Khalia said to her eight-year-old son, Nathaniel, who sat behind her on the couch. She was still staring at the rubble of buildings across the street.

“I know mom,” Nathaniel said. “You already told us that.” He didn’t like to look at the rubble. It reminded him that there were very bad things in the world. His brother, Caleb, who was six, didn’t seem to be bothered by it. He was having breakfast by himself in the kitchen.

Khalia turned to look at Nathaniel. “It’s important that the two of you understand why things like this happen. We need to be grateful that we’re still alive.”

“And we are grateful, mom,” Nathaniel said.

Khalia smiled. “I hear the roads are clear, so I want you to get packed and ready as soon as your brother is done eating, okay?”

Nathaniel nodded. “Okay, mom.”

“We can’t stay here anymore, so we’ll head to Quito and stay there until they start allowing flights back to the states, okay? Remember we spoke about that?”

Nathaniel nodded again. “I remember. But I thought you didn’t like the city.”

“I don’t,” Khalia said. “But there’s no way we can stay here another week, so we have no choice.”

A brief moment of silence followed, and then Nathaniel said, “I miss daddy.”

“I know you both do, and so do I,” Khalia said. “That’s one of the main reasons why we’re heading back.”

Khalia’s husband, Reginald, was a project specialist for a big tech company that did business all over the United States. That kept him in the air and away from his family a lot. But when the leadership of the Hebrew Israelite assembly they attended convinced them that America was not the place to be, Reginald arranged for his family to live in Ecuador.

When Khalia and the boys were in the states, Reginald was able to see them at least once or twice a month, whenever there was a break in his travels. But now that they were in South America, he hadn’t seen them in over a year. Khalia was sure that was about to change. She and her husband spoke on the telephone almost every day, which was very expensive, but they both felt the high cost was worth it.

They would discuss work, their shared spiritual beliefs, life in Ecuador, and the boys’ homeschooling projects, and then Khalia would let Reginald speak to his sons. He missed them a great deal, and the distance between them made Reginald very lonely. Even though Khalia had the boys, being so far away from her husband for so long made her feel lonely too.

Khalia’s thoughts were interrupted when Caleb decided to pop into the living room. She was still standing at the window, and Nathaniel was stretched out on the couch now, flipping through a magazine.

“I’m finished with breakfast, mommy,” Caleb said.

Khalia turned to face him, her arms folded. “I can see that. You ready to go, champ?”

“Uh huh,” Caleb said, offering slow, long nods of his head.

Khalia shot a glance at her eldest son and said, “That’s your cue, Nate. Please get ready to leave.”

Nathaniel let out a soft groan and slowly placed the magazine on the center table across from him. “Sure,” he said lazily, stretching the word out.

Within the hour, Khalia and her two sons were sitting in the back of a cab headed for Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. They drove through a path of utter destruction—concrete buildings, brick and mortar houses, and crude huts, all toppled and reduced to heaps of rubble on both sides of the road, which had debris strewn at its edges. Some roads had even cracked to the point where vehicles couldn’t be driven on them, and a few concrete overpasses had collapsed as well.

Here and there they passed rescue crews and reporters and cameramen from several foreign media outlets. And three news helicopters could be seen crisscrossing the sky. The catastrophe was turning into a media circus, and Khalia was ready to put the whole thing behind her.

Khalia and her two sons stayed in a hotel room in Quito for close to two weeks. During that time, their eyes were glued to television news reports about the progress of the cleanup throughout damaged areas of Ecuador. When they finally reported that flights had resumed out of Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport, Khalia and her children rejoiced.

“Now we can go see daddy!” Nathaniel shouted, unable to control himself.

Caleb was hopping up and down with his eyes closed.

“That’s right,” Khalia said, smiling. “This is what we’ve been waiting for. I’ll make arrangements today so we can get the first flight out of here.”

To their surprise, not only did Khalia make flight arrangements that day, but by the time the sun sank below the horizon, the three excited Hebrews were sitting in the economy section of a Boeing 757 bound for Savannah, Georgia. After a smooth and uneventful flight, they landed at Hilton Head International Airport at 10 a.m. the next morning.

They hadn’t bothered to call or notify Reginald because they wanted to surprise him by showing up on the doorstep of their Savannah home, since he was still in town. They were able to grab a cab that was parked curbside right in front of their terminal. When they pulled up in front of the house, a cozy Craftsman-style home with a large front porch and stone details, the boys let out screams and shouts while moving around excitedly.

“Keep it down,” Khalia said, glancing at the taxi driver. “Control yourselves.” She was excited herself and was all smiles. Khalia paid the driver and she and the boys lugged their bags to the front porch. Reginald’s car was still in the driveway, and since the curtains were drawn, she could see into the living room, but he wasn’t there.

When Khalia slipped the key into the lock of the front door and jiggled it open, the noise must have alerted Reginald, because he bounded out of the back room and rushed toward them. Reginald didn’t let his family cross the threshold into the living room. He grabbed them all in a large family hug and held them close as he sobbed for several minutes. Tears eventually streamed from the eyes of each member of the James family.

Tokyo, Japan

Another YouTube video started playing on the large monitor on Shyrece Tucker’s desk. It featured a brief history of the hardships black people faced following the end of slavery. And the narrator connected that history to the Scripture prophecies related to the Hebrew Israelites of old. Shyrece had been watching those kinds of videos for the past three days, and she had gone through dozens of them. It all started when she received an email from a relative who lived over in the United Kingdom. The email was short and to the point. “Hello cousin,” it read. “It’s time to wake up. Check out these three videos. We’re Hebrews. Love you. Mordecai.”

Being in Japan had been a dream come true for Shyrece. Though she was a Brooklyn native, born and raised, and New York was in her blood, Japan had a certain appeal that no other country could match. She had immersed herself in Japanese culture as far back as she could remember, even learning the language to the point where she could speak a little bit of it, read some here and there, and even write a few sentences in hiragana, said to be the simplest of three Japanese writing systems.

She had her dad to thank for her love of all things Japanese, and he was partly the reason she was there. From the time she was born, her dad had flown back and forth to Japan. She had even lived there one year when business kept him in the country and he insisted on having his family close to him. Shyrece was a little girl then, not more than nine, and her parents had long since divorced. Worse than that, she hadn’t spoken to her dad in over three years and had no idea where he was in the world. The divorce had hit him hard and soon after it was finalized he just vanished. For all Shyrece knew, he could even be dead.

Her relationship with her mom, on the other hand, only grew stronger, and they had been each other’s support system over the years. The day she had to leave her mom behind in Brooklyn was the hardest one she ever had to face. But Japan had been calling, and she felt she needed to answer that call. She was twenty-two now and living on her own—well if you didn’t count her two roommates, Amanda, a Caucasian from Los Angeles, and Shiori, a native of Japan—and the original owner of the apartment. So, living in Japan, sort of on her own, had been a dream come true, until she received that email from her British cousin, Jason, who was now going by the Hebrew name Mordecai.

The new truths she had been exposed to over the past three days was shaking up her life. Being a Hebrew was all she could think about. And she was trying her best to figure out what that really meant, and how it would affect her life.

Mordecai’s timing couldn’t have been better too because he sent the email while Shyrece’s roommates were away on assignment in Hong Kong, courtesy of the company they all worked for. But they were due to be back in the morning, so Shyrece’s YouTube binging could not continue uninterrupted, and free of ridicule. They shared a small city apartment, after all, which meant that each of them had very little in the way of privacy. That also meant Shyrece had to have her fill of Hebrew videos during these quiet moments. And she felt the strong urge to start reading her Scriptures again.

Shyrece leaned back in her chair and soaked up the info in the latest video playing on her computer, and through her living room window, many lights from distant skyscrapers lit up the night sky over Tokyo.

Shyrece had ended up watching so many videos she dozed off in the middle of one of them and fell into a deep sleep right at her desk. The morning sun soon rose over Japan and golden sunlight streaked through the window in front of her. Her computer had also gone to sleep, and the monitor had shut itself off, but Shyrece was still unaware of all this.

She didn’t stir until she heard the front door open and slam shut and one of her roommates call out to her.

“Shyrece, we’re home,” Amanda said as she placed her keys in the bowl on the entry table next to the front door. Shiori came in behind her and immediately slipped into the bathroom off to the left and closed the door without saying a word. When Amanda took a peek around the wall that separated the living room from the entrance, she could see Shyrece rubbing sleep out of her eyes.

Shyrece rolled her head around to work out the kinks in her neck, but the pain didn’t go away. She looked up at Amanda, who was putting a bag on the couch across from the computer desk. “Welcome back,” Shyrece said.

“Thanks,” Amanda said, while staring at Shyrece with a puzzled look on her face. “Did you sleep at the desk all night?”

Shyrece was suddenly embarrassed. She did what came naturally when she felt this way, which was wrinkle her nose with her shoulders raised. “Yes,” she said at last, but she said it so softly that Amanda almost didn’t hear her reply. Then she added, “I didn’t mean to.”

“Well, do you want to get some real sleep?” Amanda asked. “We’ll do our best to keep it down out here.”

Shyrece stood up and stretched. “No. I’m good. I’ve got a lot of stuff to catch up on anyway.”

Amanda still looked curious. She stared at Shyrece for a long moment.

“What?” Shyrece asked, raising her hands with the question.

“Out of curiosity,” Amanda began, “what were you doing last night?”

In that moment, various elements from the many videos Shyrece had watched for the past three days flooded her mind. She was slowly starting to feel at one with her new identity, that of a Hebrew Israelite woman. She was no longer comfortable thinking of herself in terms of being black, or African-American. She had been reintroduced to the Scripture prophecies she thought she understood, which told of the hardships, struggles, and brutality her people would experience until the end of days.

She was now aware of a truth that had been hidden from her and buried. And that truth was too powerful to bottle up inside. So she took a deep breath and said, “I’m no longer the person you knew before you went on your trip to Hong Kong.”

Amanda’s expression twisted into utter confusion. She shook her head. “I . . . I don’t understand. What are you saying?”

Shiori, who was usually quiet and often kept to herself, took that moment to step into the living room with her arms folded. She had heard Shyrece’s last statement, and her face had gathered confusion as well. “I would like to hear this too,” she said.

Shyrece glanced at one roommate, then the other, and said, “I’m a Hebrew Israelite. I am a daughter of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For the first time in my life, I now know my true history, and it goes back far beyond the slave ships that sailed out of West Africa. Our history didn’t start there, and that means the world to me.”

Amanda and Shiori exchanged a quick glance before Amanda decided to pose another question. “So let me get this straight, you think you’re Jewish?”

Shyrece smiled patiently. “No. The people you think are Jews, who are really Khazarians, stole our identity. This happened hundreds of years ago. And Scripture said this would happen. Our true history was hidden from the world, and we, the true Hebrews, were cursed and punished for breaking a covenant we made with the Creator, and slavery was a big part of that. It’s detailed in the Scriptures.”

Amanda plopped herself into the couch behind her and leaned her head back as she sighed.

Shiori’s forehead was wrinkled with concern. “Are you serious about this? Please tell us you’re joking.”

Shyrece shook her head. “I’m not joking. I know this all sounds strange, but it’s something I felt I had to share.”

Amanda sat up on the couch and asked, “So what does this all mean exactly?”

Shyrece thought about that for a moment. “I’m not sure. But what I can say is, I’m not the same person I was. And I don’t know if I can go on living my life the way I’ve been living it here.”

“You’re telling us this big change came in just three days?” Amanda said.

Before Shyrece could answer, Shiori asked another question. She glanced back at Amanda and said, “Where do we fit in all this. If you are Hebrew, as you say, what do you think we are?”

When Shyrece didn’t answer right away, Amanda added, “Yeah. This I’d like to hear. Who do you think we are?”

“You’re gentiles.”

Amanda threw her hands in the air. “So she does think she’s Jewish.”

“You being gentile isn’t a concept that came from the so-called Jews,” Shyrece said. “Like I told you, they stole our identity. The truth is, the so-called Jews are gentiles too, since they descended from Japheth and not Shem.”

Shyrece knew she had totally lost her roommates with the discussion. She closed her eyes, took in a deep breath, and then she said, “This isn’t something you two need to understand. This is really for me. You two know your history. Well, now I know mine, and it’s not something I can ignore. And prophecy said that the true Hebrews would wake up and return to the Creator in the last days.”

Amanda stood up. “Okay, that said, what are you going to do now. Because it sounds like you’re about to make big changes. Correct me if I’m wrong.”

“You’re not wrong,” Shyrece said. “But I can’t say what those changes will be just yet. I’m still processing a lot of things.”

Shiori smiled, before sharing a glance with Amanda again.

“You two must think I’m crazy,” Shyrece said.

Her two roommates quickly assured her they did not.

“No, not at all,” Shiori said.

“Don’t be silly,” said Amanda. “That couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

But deep down, Shyrece knew how they really felt. That didn’t matter, however. She knew what she had to do, and she wasn’t about to let their secret opinions influence her decision. Shyrece looked both of her roommates in the eye and said, “I’m heading back to New York.”

Ruth Bryant loved to run around on the grounds of the estate when the vacationing family was away. The property sat on fifty lush acres on the edge of Greenville, South Carolina. Both her parents were employed by the property owners, Upcountry Villa. Her father, Vincent, was the houseman, whose duties included maintenance of the house and grounds, and her mother, Edna, was the housekeeper.

Ruth was running around in circles on the front lawn near a massive Willow Oak tree when her mother stepped out onto the balcony above the service entrance and called her name.

When Ruth looked in her direction, Edna said, “It’s time to come inside.”

Ruth raced toward the house without argument. She had turned eleven at the beginning of summer, and one of the things she promised her mother upon reaching this new double digit was that there would be no more arguments from her. Her father had told her repeatedly that disobeying her parents and challenging their authority was actually considered the opposite of honoring her mother and father, which the fifth law in the covenant commanded.

“You know there’s a curse that comes with that, right?” her father had said once. He even showed her where it was written in the Scriptures, and she remembered the chapter and verse—Deuteronomy 27 verse 16. Her parents were servants of Yah, the Creator of all things, and Ruth was determined to be one as well. She was a Hebrew Israelite after all, and Israelites were the chosen people of Yah. She had read that for herself.

Ruth entered the house through the service entrance and met her mother on the second-floor landing.

Her mother was holding a stack of what looked like important papers when she said, “I need you to do some errands for me.”

“Sure mom,” Ruth said. “You name it.”

Edna smiled at her daughter. “I can really get used to this new attitude of yours Ruth. Keep it up.” Edna thumbed through some of the papers and pulled two stamped, sealed envelopes from the middle of the stack. “I need you to mail these for me. But make it quick because I have some more things for you to do.”

“Okay,” Ruth said as she took the mail. She made her way back outside and trotted to the entrance gate at the head of the long driveway. Ruth made sure no one was around before she opened the gate and went out to the mailbox. Her father had taught her to always be on alert because it was a dangerous world out there.

When she started heading back to the house, she was tempted to run around some more, but she remembered that her mother had told her to make it quick. She decided that running around, even for a minute or two, would have been an act of disobedience, and that was not something that the servants of Yah practiced. A true servant of Yah, she remembered, was to hear and obey in all things. She wanted nothing more than to make it to the kingdom of Yah, which she knew was coming very soon, and she would do everything she could to make it there. So she fought the urge to run around on the two acres of grass that were like a soft sea of green to her.

Ruth made her way inside the house. When she got to the top of the stairs, her mother said, “I’m in the office.” Ruth joined her there and was told to empty the garbage pail. When she finished doing that she tidied up the office desk and then helped her mom sort and file stacks of paperwork for the next hour.

When the last paper was filed Edna looked at her daughter and said, “I am so grateful for your help Ruth. What say we relax for a little bit?”

Ruth smiled. “I’d like that.”

Edna walked with her daughter to the servants’ quarters, which was a small bungalow a few hundred feet from the main house. Together they prepared sandwiches, a fruit salad, and a pitcher of lemonade.

“We’ll have this out on the patio,” Edna said while carrying a loaded tray toward the glass sliding doors off the kitchen.

When they sat down, Edna looked at her watch and said, “Your father should be back any minute.”

“Then we should wait for him,” Ruth said.

No sooner had Ruth finished speaking than a pickup truck appeared at the entrance gate.

“He’s here,” Ruth said with excitement.

As Vincent drove toward the main house, he spotted his family on the back patio of their bungalow and waved to them. Edna called him over with a hand gesture and he left the truck parked in the driveway and trotted over to his wife and daughter.

Edna kissed him and said, “We just made a snack and were hoping you’d be back in time to join us.”

Vincent kissed Ruth on the forehead and said, “Wouldn’t miss it. I wanted to talk to the two of you about something I just heard on the radio. But let me run this load of peat moss over to the main house and I’ll get washed up.”

“We’ll wait for you,” Edna said.

Vincent wasted no time dropping off his load and parking the truck. When he finished washing up inside the bungalow, he joined his wife and daughter on the patio and started telling them about his news.

Ruth ate a sandwich as she listened, and Edna picked at the fruit salad.

“While I was driving,” Vincent was saying, “I heard them say on the radio that the dollar lost value again. Now that’s the third time this week. Several countries have stopped exchanging it and word is we won’t be able to use it outside the U.S. soon.”

Edna lowered her fork and furrowed her brow as she gazed at her husband. “This sounds like cause for concern.”

Vincent nodded. “It sure is. When the dollar collapses, because it’s not a matter of if anymore, then things are going to get really bad, really fast.”

Ruth was growing concerned as well. She placed the half-eaten sandwich on her plate and asked, “What are we going to do if we can’t use money anymore?”

“We’ll probably be able to use it in this country for a while, sweets,” Vincent said. “But it will be almost worthless. Like a loaf of bread might cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, or maybe more. Something like that happened in Germany after the First World War.”

“What’s causing this?” Edna asked. “Do you know?”

“Well, several things. The currencies of other countries have become more important than ours, and the dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency, meaning nations don’t feel the need to hold it in significant quantities anymore. Ever since oil stopped being priced and traded in U.S. dollars, they don’t feel it’s safe.”

“We need to pray about this Vincent,” Edna said.

“I’ve already been doing that, but we can pray as a family. And then we need to make plans.”

“What are we planning for?” Ruth asked.

“The end of the world as we know it,” Vincent said. “We need to be prepared for the things that are coming. Spiritually prepared.”

Ruth nodded and said, “Yah is with us.”

Vincent smiled. “He is, sweets. And that’s why we don’t fear these things.”

“But we have to ask Yah for guidance and listen to his voice when he speaks,” Edna added.

“We have to hear and obey,” Ruth said.

“Exactly,” Edna said.

“That’s right, sweets,” Vincent said as well. “We’ll need a lot of spiritual armor to get through the time ahead. Our faith will be tested, and we’ll have to rely on Yah completely.”

Edna reached over and held Vincent’s hand atop the table. “He’ll give us the strength,” she said.

Ruth was already strengthened by the conversation, but she was ready to receive an extra portion of Yah’s strength because the times ahead did sound scary. “Is the time of trouble coming, the one you keep talking about, dad?”

“The book of Daniel, chapter 12 verse 1, says it will be ‘greater than any since nations first came into existence.’ And Yeshua says the same thing in Matthew chapter 24 verse 21, only he adds ‘And it will never be so great again.’ ”

Ruth looked slightly puzzled. She rested her cheek on a fist and asked, “But how do we know the time of trouble is coming?”

Edna leaned over to Ruth and said, “Can you tell when it’s about to rain?”

Ruth said, “Yeah. It gets all cloudy and the sky is really dark.”

“And remember when we were on that farm,” Edna said, “and you felt the air change.”

Ruth grinned. “Yes. It felt kind of heavy around me.”

“Well,” Edna said, “Yeshua told us to look for signs that the end is near. And he told us what those signs would be.”

“In fact, a lot of prophecies point out those signs,” Vincent added. “All through Scripture. Stars would fall from the sky, for one. Have we seen that?”

“I don’t think so,” Ruth said.

“What do you think shooting stars are?” Edna asked, “and what they call comets?”

“Yeah, scientists will try to sweep the truth of that under the rug, but the knowledge of this world—”

“Is foolishness with Yah,” Ruth finished.

“Earthquakes and what they term ‘natural disasters’ will become more frequent,” Vincent said. “And we would see an increase in violence and loose behavior among people. And wild animals, birds, and fish are going to die in countless numbers.”

“Yeah. I’ve seen that in the news a lot,” Ruth said.

“The Scriptures said the moon would turn to blood too,” Edna said.

Ruth sat up and said, “We saw that twice.”

“Yeah, but it happened four times in a little over a year,” Vincent said. “And we would also hear trumpets being blown. And that’s been happening around the world, among so many other things, sweets.”

“So, a lot of signs have been showing us what’s directly ahead,” Edna said.

“The time of trouble,” Ruth concluded. “So when do we start praying?”

Edna looked at her husband and said, “There’s no time like the present. What do you say?”

With that, they all held hands and bowed their heads in prayer.

“While the situation in Europe is now critical,” the news anchor said, “and the Euro looks like it is also about to topple, the big story today is the U.S. Dollar.” A digital chart detailing the decline of the currency faded into view. “As reported last night, the dollar has collapsed, and markets around the world are reeling this morning. People are already panicking in the streets.”

Jamal rested his elbows on his thighs as they played video footage of Chicago residents standing in long lines that snaked from the entrance of several big banks. His mother sat next to him on the couch with her mouth hanging open. More video footage showed people breaking store windows and doors and others already stampeding out of stores with shiny boxes in hand.

“Look at those thieves,” Alice said. “Hooligans, all of them, stealing televisions and sneakers. You think they’d be worried about getting food in their bellies.”

“This is only the beginning, ma,” Jamal said. “This is what I’ve been trying to tell you. The whole world economy is going to crash behind this. They planned it this way. Then we’ll wake up one day and a new cashless system will be in place.”

For weeks, Jamal and Tyrell had been going around their neighborhood warning as many Hebrews as they could. It had been three days since they last went out, which was the day they spoke to those kids on the basketball court. Most of the eight boys had laughed them to scorn while the rest of them simply walked away and continued to practice their jump shots.

Sadly, that was the typical reaction they got from the sleeping Hebrews that populated Evanston. They just didn’t want to hear the truth, but that was the sons and daughters of Judah for you. Jamal remembered what the Word had to say on the matter. He read in John 12 verse 40 that:

“Yah has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts—so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand. . . .”

The news footage switched to another development. Military tanks were seen rolling through city streets at a crawl, with armed soldiers marching in step around them. Citizens lined up to see the slow procession while others moved hastily out of their way. Cars weren’t allowed on the roads in that section of the city, and aerial footage showed one block where tanks and soldiers were closing in on looters who were destroying a shopping district.

The news reporter touched his earpiece and said, “We’re getting word that a press conference is scheduled within the hour, where the president will officially declare martial law. This is breaking news, folks.”

Alice looked over at her son and said, “I’ve got to call your father. I’m sure Malcolm doesn’t know this is happening.”

Jamal walked over to the wall that held the cordless phone. He dialed his father’s cell phone number and passed the receiver to his mother.

Alice heard the phone ring and then there was a lot of commotion in the background. “Hello,” she said at the top of her voice.

“Alice?” Malcolm said over the loud shouting behind him. “This isn’t a good time.”

“Where are you?” Alice asked.

“What’s that?” Malcolm said.

“I asked you where you were,” Alice replied.

“I’m in Chicago on an install,” Malcolm told her. He worked for a window and door installation company. “We’re stuck here in traffic, and there’s a crowd of people around us. Nobody’s moving. It wasn’t like this when we got here early this morning.”

“They’re rioting all over the city,” Alice said. “And people are jamming the streets to see the military marching through with tanks. It’s happening on several blocks. Some of the streets are closed to traffic.”

“What? Why is this happening?” Malcolm asked.

“On the news they said that the dollar collapsed, and people started panicking. It’s not just here in Illinois. All the big cities are a mess right now.”

Malcolm said nothing in reply for a moment. Alice figured he was stunned by the news.

“Malcolm?” Alice said.

“I’m going to try to see if we can get around all this,” Malcolm said.

“Okay,” Alice said. “But it looks like Jamal knew what he was talking about, right? He told us all along that this would happen.”

Alice took a chance in steering the conversation in that direction. She was hoping that she could cause her husband to see Jamal in a different light. But Malcolm was as stubborn as they came.

“I’ll call you if I have to, Alice. Bye,” is all he said.

“Goodbye, Malcolm,” Alice said. When she started to say “Be safe,” she heard the phone click in her ear. The call had ended.

“He all right?” Jamal asked as he took the receiver from his mom.

Alice related the situation to him.

“So where’s he going now?” Jamal asked.

“Back to the office I suppose,” she said.

“At a time like this?”

Alice offered a weak smile while she stared blankly at the television. “What can I tell you. Your father is set in his ways.”

“This is the time he should be with his family,” Jamal said, as the anger started to course through him.

Alice looked up at him and said, “I agree, son. But don’t go getting worked up over this. He is your father after all.”

Jamal knew his mother was right. He was to respect his father, despite their differences. He also had to prepare for the reality that his father might never come around to accepting the truth, even if it stared him in the face, as it did at that moment. From the video footage they aired on the news segment, it didn’t seem like many people went to work that day. And since the dollar had officially collapsed, what did it matter anyway? Jamal’s father, on the other hand, saw things differently. His priority was always work, and family took a backseat. That was true for almost every important occasion that had come up in the past.

Despite all this, Jamal felt he had to respect his father, and with that in mind, he decided to set aside his ill feelings. He would continue to lead by example and show the love of his redeemer and king, Yahushua. Jamal also remembered that the Messiah said he had come to send division in households. Because of the word of truth, fathers would be against their sons, and mothers against daughters, and a man’s enemies would be those of his own household. Jamal realized that he was living that promise, and everything started to make perfect sense to him.

Jamal repented in his heart and immediately felt a sense of peace and calm return to him. At that moment, he shifted his gaze to the television and then he looked at his mom, who was still fixated on the TV screen. He was glad that he was able to spend time with her, especially during the unfolding crisis. He took a seat next to her on the couch again and they continued to watch the news together, neither of them having much to say.

Malcolm Byers watched as the crowds pressed in around their van. He was sitting in the passenger seat, and the driver, a younger co-worker named Julio Diaz, looked frightened. He gripped the steering wheel even though they weren’t moving, and his eyes darted from face to face as he eyed the crowd with a wary expression.

Malcolm noticed how fearful Julio seemed, and he tried to lighten the mood. “My wife tells me they’re all waiting to see some military convoy roll through or something.”

“These people looked panicked, Malcolm,” Julio said. “They’re yelling about how corrupt the government is and something about banks failing. And why are stores being looted across the street? There are no police officers around.” Julio snapped his head toward Malcolm, his eyes bulging. “What’s really going on here?”

Malcolm rubbed his face and said, “They’re saying the dollar collapsed. It’s causing people to panic. There’s chaos everywhere I hear.”

Julio fell back into his seat and released his grip on the wheel. He looked depressed. “That’s the last thing I wanted to hear. This country was already in bad shape, now we’ll be no worse off than a Third World country.”

“Yeah, it looks pretty bad, Julio,” Malcolm said. “But this nation has been through rough times before, and we’ve always seemed to bounce back.”

Julio looked across at Malcolm. “This is very different from those times. Tell me you realize that. This is going to bring down the world economy. This isn’t just a U.S. problem.”

Malcolm leaned his head back and sighed. He agreed with everything Julio was saying, but it wasn’t something he was ready to think about. He just wanted life to continue as scheduled, with none of these tumultuous interruptions. “You’re right,” he said at last. “But there’s nothing we can do about it.”

The commotion outside suddenly died down, and Malcolm and Julio darted their eyes here and there to see what was going on. An M1 Abrams tank was coming into view. A soldier was perched atop the turret while other soldiers marched around the tank. A path was cleared for the army unit and everyone watched the company pass in stunned silence. When the people robbing the stores across the street saw the soldiers approaching, many of them dropped the boxes they held and ran at top speed up the block, though no one pursued them.

Julio craned his neck to see where the unit was marching to. “Where do you think they’re going?”

Malcolm took a good look ahead of them, trying to see over the crowds milling around in front of the van. “Looks like they’re headed for City Hall.”

“Makes sense,” Julio said. “They have to protect the politicians first.”

“Who else would they protect? The people?” Malcolm said sarcastically. He took a good look at the crowds and saw that no other cars were moving through the area. “Looks like we’ll be here all day, Julio. We’d best start walking and try to take a bus or a train back to work.”

As they walked, the crowds started to thin out. They were a few blocks from the train station when Julio said, “I don’t think we’re far from experiencing the Rapture,” and that’s when it clicked for Malcolm. The Scripture verses he’d heard Jamal quoting through the house flew at him left and right.

His son had been talking about the end times for months. He pointed out a lot of the prophecies that had recently unfolded and touched on the ones that would soon come to pass. And he also spoke of the Rapture, but not it terms of it being a Scriptural event.

Malcolm chuckled to himself when he heard what Julio said. “The Rapture,” he repeated with scorn. “You realize that’s just a cleverly devised fable, don’t you?”

Julio’s expression hardened, as though he’d taken offense. “I assure you it’s no fable, Malcolm.”

“Are you a Christian?” Malcolm asked him.

“Of course,” Julio said. “Born and raised. But I stopped going to church about six years ago. And that’s a decision I’m starting to regret. But the Rapture is real my friend.”

Malcolm said, “Let me ask you, what exactly is the basis for the Rapture?”

“Well it was explained by the Savior’s own words. I think it’s in the book of Matthew somewhere.”

Malcolm knew the verse well. He had heard it often enough. “It’s in Matthew chapter 24. And it’s also mentioned in Luke chapter 17. But go on.”

“Yes, so, we’re told that two people will be in a field and in a bed and so forth, and one will be taken and the other will be left behind. The one taken is the one who is Raptured to heaven. He’s caught up to meet the Savior in the air.”

Malcolm stopped walking and turned to face Julio. He pointed a finger at him and said, “Aha. See, you’re missing a big piece of the puzzle there. What happens just before the two people in the field are mentioned?”

Julio thought about it for a brief moment. “We’re told about what will happen at the second coming.”

“That’s right,” Malcolm said with excitement. He was surprised at himself for knowing anything at all about the subject and, more importantly, being interested enough to have the discussion. “Yahushua—I’ll just call the Savior by his Hebrew name—Yahushua said that his coming would be like the days of Noah.”

“Right,” Julio agreed. “People in our day will be marrying and feasting just like the people in Noah’s time.”

“Yes, but verses 38 and 39 get specific about the people in Noah’s time. We’re told they married, feasted, and partied right up until the time that Noah entered the boat, and none of them realized what was about to happen, until what?”

“Until the flood came and took them all away,” Julio replied.

“Yes, yes,” Malcolm said while pumping his fists. He quickly regained his composure and continued. “We’re still in verse 39. And at the end of the verse, Yahushua says that the same thing will happen when he returns. Then the very next verse picks up with what you first stated. Two men will be working in the field, like you and I are right now. One of them will be taken, just like the people who were marrying and partying in Noah’s day. Remember, they were swept away by a flood. So, the one who will be taken away in our day, what will happen to him? Is he whisked up to heaven?” Malcolm looked to the sky.

Julio shook his head. “No.”

“What happens to him, Julio, now that we’re looking at it from this angle?”

Julio’s face was a mask of shock. He was staring blankly at the sky when he said, “The one who will be taken, is the one who will die.”

“That’s right,” Malcolm said. “That’s exactly right.”

“I can’t believe I never saw that,” Julio said. “All these years and I never understood it that way.”

“That’s why you have to read the Scriptures for yourself, prayerfully.” Malcolm remembered that it was his son who had said those very words to him. At that moment, an incredible feeling of joy washed over his entire being, and he realized that he was suddenly a believer. He knew, at last, how wonderful Yahushua was, how merciful he was, and deserving of worship. At that moment, while he watched Julio come to terms with the new light he had received, Malcolm had decided to become a servant of Yahushua, the son of the living Elohim. He realized that the seed his own son had planted in him had finally taken root.

Khalia was riding in the back of a cab when she heard about the U.S. dollar becoming virtually worthless overnight. Her two boys were beside her in the backseat and the three of them, along with the cab driver, tuned their ears to the report on the car stereo.

“The Federal Reserve is steadily printing dollars that are not being demanded outside our borders,” the reporter said, “which means that the newly minted money will have to be spent right here in the United States. The U.S. has failed to repay its debts and policymakers are currently looking for a solution to this sudden crisis. Since martial law was declared by the President during a special briefing, many insiders have speculated that we will soon adopt a new digital money system that will be linked to countries around the world. More on that story after the break.”

That had happened in the morning, during a planned trip to a museum in Historic Downtown Charleston, said to be the cultural capital of South Carolina. By the time they arrived in Charleston, the streets were jam-packed with people either frantically heading here and there or standing around in a dazed stupor.

Khalia’s husband, Reginald, was away on business again, this time way over on the West Coast, in San Francisco. When Khalia tried to call Reginald, she learned that the cellular network was overloaded. Too many people were making calls at the same time and she couldn’t even get a dial tone. And the cab they were riding in was pinned in by a flood of vehicles that could not move due to the crowds. This left Khalia and her boys no choice but to take to the streets on foot. They had carefully picked their way through the hordes and ended up on a less crowded side street, at the end of which was a payphone.

Nathaniel, her eight-year-old son, asked, “You have change to make a call?”

Khalia rifled through her purse as she said, “Doesn’t look like it. People don’t carry much change these days. I’ll probably have to call your father collect.”

When she dialed Reginald’s number it barely rang before he picked up.

“Hello,” he said, sounding panicked.

Khalia breathed a sigh of relief into the phone. “Oh, I’m so glad I got through. My cell phone wouldn’t work.”

“Khalia, I tried calling you like twenty times today,” Reginald said. “You had me so worried. Are you all okay?”

Khalia looked down at her two boys and stroked the head of her six-year-old, Caleb. “Yeah, we’re fine sweetie. I take it you heard the news by now.”

“Who hasn’t,” Reginald said. “I really need to be with you all right now, so we can get through this together. I feel so bad being so far from—”

“Sweetie, it’s not your fault,” Khalia interrupted. “You couldn’t have known something like this was going to happen. And you have to work.”

“None of that matters right now,” Reginald said. “All that really matters is me getting back there and being with you all.”

“No,” Khalia said. “What matters most right now, and every moment, is your relationship with Yah. Take care of that first and foremost, sweetie.”

Reginald fell silent for a moment and then said, “You’re right. I can never argue with you.”

“We’ll be all right,” Khalia said. “We’re walking in faith over here. I just wanted to hear your voice, and make sure you heard the news.”

“Oh, I heard all right. I don’t think anybody missed it unless they’ve been living under a rock. None of our lives will be the same after this.”

“I agree,” Khalia said. “Change is usually good, but this financial crisis will lead to nothing but trouble.”

“Loss of more freedom, for one,” Reginald added. “Maybe it’s time we all leave the United States together.”

“What?” Khalia said. She was blindsided by his statement. “After what we’ve just been through in Ecuador, being separated from you on top of it? How can you suggest that, Reginald?”

“It was just a thought,” Reginald said.

“I’m not sure where you stand, but I don’t believe we need to flee anywhere. There is no fleeing. Everywhere is tainted and running won’t change that. Besides, Scripture even says that he will protect us where we are, and lead us out of our captivity again with a greater work that what was seen in Egypt.”

“I know, I know,” Reginald said.

“Then why talk about running again?” Khalia asked.

“Forget I ever suggested it,” he said. “It was a temporary moment of weakness. We’ll get through this.”

Yah will get us through this,” Khalia said.

“That’s what I meant,” Reginald said. “Look, I uh, I have some work to finish up. Give me a call again if you want to talk. And let me know if you three need anything.”

Khalia looked up at the sky and reflected on the earthquake she and her boys had survived. She remembered how Yah had protected them, and even spared their house while all the other buildings on her street had been destroyed. Reginald seemed like he was starting to lose focus. While Khalia was experiencing an increase in her faith, she wondered if Reginald was starting to lose his.

“We’re fine, Reginald,” she said. “I’ll call you if anything. Love you.”

“Love you too,” Reginald said. “And give my love to the boys.”

“I will,” Khalia said before ending the call.

They stood next to the payphone while Khalia looked at the large crowd that was gathered at the end of the street they stood on. More people were making their way along the street from the other direction.

Nathaniel looked up at his mother and asked, “Why didn’t you tell dad where we were?”

“He knows where we are, Nathaniel,” Khalia said.

“No, I mean why didn’t you tell him we’re stuck in the city.”

Khalia looked down at her son and stroked his left cheek. “I didn’t want to worry your father. And we don’t have anything to worry about. We’ll make our way out of here.”

Her youngest son, Caleb, asked, “Are we still going to the museum?”

Khalia reached for his hand so they could start walking. “No, Caleb,” She said. “Something happened that made the museum close today.”

Caleb lowered his head and pouted. While he was usually full of questions, he didn’t even bother to ask what had caused the museum to close. When they turned the corner they could see several of well-dressed people leaning against the brick walls of buildings or sitting on the sidewalk, some of them holding their faces, others sobbing. These were people who had most likely lost a great deal of money in the economic collapse. Some might have lost jobs and homes. Khalia couldn’t be sure.

Beyond them, much more people stood in a long line that led to the entrance of a bank. All around them, retail stores were closed, but people still gathered in front of them, waiting aimlessly.

They walked two more blocks and saw many people trying to enter the doors of a local grocer, but a glance through the windows revealed shelves that were near empty. Inside many customers seemed to be squabbling over the few groceries that remained. Some customers were even trying to take items from the hands of other shoppers by force.

Khalia saw several police cars trying to make their way through the crowded streets, where people tried to cross in large numbers. The officers inside the cars blared their sirens and flashed their lights but that did little to part the crowd. Far in the distance, a convoy of tanks and soldiers was making its way toward them. This alarmed Khalia. She reached for Nathaniel’s hand as well and decided to turn around.

“Where are we going?” Caleb asked.

“Yeah, mom. We can’t just keep walking like this,” Nathaniel said.

“We’ll have to try and find a way home,” Khalia told them. “Just let me think for a minute while we walk.” She whispered a prayer in her heart at that moment, asking Yah for direction. She did not know which way to turn, both in a literal and figurative sense. Somehow, she knew she was walking in the right direction, which was back toward the highway they walked from when they exited the taxicab.

Khalia was able to navigate through the crowds that grew thick on certain streets and thinned out on others. She held the boys’ hands tight, to the point that Caleb complained.

“Mommy, you’re hurting my hand,” he said.

“Sorry, Caleb,” Khalia told him before slackening her grip a little. But she held his hand more firmly when she heard what sounded like a gun firing behind her. People screamed following the shot and then two more shots were heard firing. When she stopped and turned to look to see what was happening, people were scurrying in several directions near the convoy of tanks and soldiers.

More shots were fired, and this time, she saw where they were coming from. Someone was aiming a rifle at the tanks from the window of a hotel suite several stories up. The soldiers took cover behind the tanks when one of their men fell after being struck by a bullet. More bullets ricocheted off the hull of the tank with loud pings from the same shooter above them. Some of the soldiers readied their weapons and returned fire.

The crowd had disbanded at that point, and Khalia had a clear view of the situation over the shoulders of the people in front of her. She didn’t stand there looking on for long, however. Even though Nathaniel and Caleb couldn’t see what was happening, Khalia didn’t want her sons to be exposed to things of that nature. As they walked, Khalia could hear the electric motor of the tank’s turret whirring. She stopped to look back once more, and the tank’s gun muzzle had lined up with the window from which the gunman was firing shots. To her shock and amazement, the tank’s gun let off a loud, bright round into the window above, and everyone began to flee the scene, including Khalia and her two children.

Two full days had not passed since Shyrece Tucker landed back in the states, but she was already starting to regret her decision to leave Japan. She was so new to the truth of being a Hebrew Israelite that she thought of herself in terms of a newborn baby who hadn’t been cut free from the umbilical cord. Mere hours after her plane landed at JFK International Airport in Queens, New York she was watching breaking news in her mother’s living room in Brooklyn. The U.S. dollar, it was reported, had officially collapsed.

Shyrece sat in front of the television with her mom for nearly eleven hours, with very few breaks between. They had been bombarded with reports of food shortages, empty supermarket shelves, bank failures, stock market crashes, riots, and the declaration of martial law, among many other things. There was even a strict curfew in place, which forced citizens in metropolitan areas across the entire U.S. to be indoors by ten o’clock at night. And she couldn’t leave America if she tried since there was a new ban on international travel.

Two days later, Shyrece had seen Humvees driving through several Brooklyn neighborhoods or parked in front of certain stores, mainly groceries, where crowds were known to scuffle over food items. Many people filled the sidewalks and walked for many miles due to the public transportation shutdown throughout New York City. And empty cars jammed the streets in long lines with their windows rolled up, as drivers had long abandoned them due to gas shortages. The state had assured residents that more gas would be supplied soon, however.

It had only been a few days since the collapse of the dollar and the city was already in chaos. The fact that no one could fly out of America made things worse. Everyone felt trapped and stripped of freedom. Shyrece was trying her best to keep her cool while standing in a long line with her mom, Cheryl. They were on Flatbush Avenue waiting to get into the bank. The line was full of impatient Brooklyn residents whose tempers were flaring. Because of this, Shyrece and Cheryl spoke to each other just above a whisper so they wouldn’t further rile anyone.

“I don’t think they’re letting people take more than three hundred dollars out in one day,” Cheryl was saying.

“Well, I don’t think a lot of these people will stand for that,” Shyrece said. “Speaking of which, I thought you had a little cash stashed at home.”

“I had to use that to buy some overpriced groceries yesterday when you were out, and I gave the rest to Miss Livingston down the hall. She’s getting on in age and I know she’s living on Social Security, and she has no relatives in the city.”

“That’s just sad,” Shyrece said. “But that’s what I love about you, mom. You keep on living up to your principles. And that one is right out of Scripture. We’re supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves.”

Cheryl smiled and gazed at her daughter with a look of suspicion on her face. “You’ve been carrying on with this Scripture talk ever since you landed back in New York,” she said. “This isn’t like you.”

Shyrece had never embraced spirituality or shown an interest in religion, even though her mom had been a devoted Seventh-day Adventist for many years. So the string of comments she had been making that related to the Scriptures came as a bit of a surprise to her mom.

The line moved a little so Shyrece and Cheryl took a couple steps forward. Shyrece stepped aside to look at the back of the line and saw that it was getting even longer.

“Are you going to tell me what’s going on with you?” Cheryl asked when Shyrece failed to respond to her comment.

Shyrece looked her mom in the face and said, “Just before I left Japan I came into some truth. I’m not a Christian if that’s what you’re thinking, but I have accepted the Savior, who I now refer to by his Hebrew name.”

Cheryl’s forehead gathered wrinkles and she shook her head. “But how can you say you’ve accepted the Savior but you’re not a Christian? That doesn’t make any sense. Even if you’re non-denominational you’re still considered a—”

“Mom, I’m a Hebrew Israelite,” Shyrece blurted.

Cheryl raised an eyebrow. “You mean you joined one of those cults that have young boys cussin’ at people on the street corner?”

“No, mom. Those ignorant hobos have nothing to do with what I believe. You don’t understand. You’re a Hebrew Israelite too. You see, being Israelite isn’t about switching denominations. We were born into it. It’s our heritage, our culture, and it’s important that we live up to the covenant our forefathers agreed to long ago.”

Cheryl started fidgeting as she looked at the people in line behind them, her eyes darting from face to face in search of any clue that someone had heard their conversation.

“Am I embarrassing you, mom?” Shyrece asked.

“Shyrece, this isn’t the time or the place,” Cheryl whispered.

It was then that Shyrece concluded it would never be the right time. Her mother was stuck in her ways and fully settled in her Christian denomination. They had very little to say to each other at that point, and the time they waited in line seemed to drag on much longer. After another two hours of waiting and slowly inching forward, a bank employee stood near the doors and let out twelve customers. An armed guard stood behind the bank official while he closed the doors and told everyone that they weren’t letting any more people into the bank. Three police cruisers pulled up to the bank entrance at that moment. And they arrived just in time because many people in line immediately erupted.

Several men who were at the head of the line commenced kicking the double glass doors that had been locked until the bottom pane cracked and shattered altogether. One man reached his hand through the opening and unlocked the door and about twenty customers rushed inside.

Shyrece and Cheryl moved toward the wall of the bank and watched the next scene unfold in horror. People were still piling into the bank as eight officers ran toward the entrance with loaded service weapons in hand. Three of them trained the guns on six men who were about to enter the bank and one of the officers shouted, “Stop right there. Step back or I will shoot you.”

Hands were raised and the six men backed away from the entrance while the eight officers made their way inside. Two more officers stood on the sidewalk attempting to keep order while shouting could be heard inside before many gunshots rang out and people started screaming. Some of the people in line ran off when they heard the shots being fired, but many others ran toward the entrance.

A large man who stood behind one of the officers watching the line decided to grab the officer in a bear hug while two more men rushed his partner and wrestled his gun from him. Complete pandemonium broke out after that. Two guns were seized from the officers outside and scores of people ran into the bank, where more shots could be heard ringing out in the air.

Cheryl grabbed her daughter’s arm as more than three hundred people ran past them into the bank, where the sounds of gunshots had died down. “Let’s get out of here,” Cheryl said at the top of her voice so she could be heard over all the shouting.

“We’ll have to wait till all these people pass by,” Shyrece said as she watched a mob rushing toward the entrance. They were pinned in by the crowds, being among the only people who weren’t trying to get into the bank. A few other people were also trapped but they were farther down along the wall. There were so many people rushing into the bank that a crowd formed at the entrance because no one else could get inside. The crowd spilled into the street and spread out along the wall, but they had stopped moving toward the bank.

“Let’s work our way through this crowd,” Cheryl said as she locked arms with Shyrece.

Cheryl tried to move, but Shyrece was frozen against the wall. She was practically in shock, her eyes unblinking.

“Shyrece, snap out of it!” Cheryl yelled. “This here’s the time to exercise faith, girl. Don’t freeze up on me. You say you believe in our Savior, well have faith in him right here, right now, and pray we get out of this. And I’m praying too.”

The words got through to Shyrece. She closed her eyes and said in her heart, Yah give me strength, and was immediately able to move. In fact, Shyrece was the one who now led the way. She grabbed her mother’s forearm and started cutting a path through the crowd. “Excuse me, excuse me. Pardon us,” she said as they slowly zigzagged through the throng of customers.

“We’re almost out,” Shyrece said when they had walked about three long blocks through the sea of people. Helicopters could be heard in the distance and they soon came into view overhead. When Shyrece looked up at them she said, “News choppers. Now everyone is going to know about this. Won’t be long before they send more cops and probably the military.”

“Let’s move quickly, Shyrece,” Cheryl said.

“I’m trying, I’m trying,” Shyrece said while continuing to shimmy her way through the crowd. When they made it out at last Cheryl and Shyrece walked briskly along Flatbush Avenue without looking back. They hadn’t walked five blocks before they spotted the Abrams tanks rolling in the direction of the bank and the chaotic scene they had just left.

Later that day, while in the relative comfort of their living room, they would learn that the bank had actually run out of money, along with many other banks throughout the United States. And all ten officers who had been the first to arrive on the scene had been killed after shooting upwards of thirty people. All told, more than eight hundred people had died after the military intervened with two Abrams tanks and armed troops, and it was reported as the bloodiest day since the economic crash had occurred. But eventually, the crowd had gone away.

Ruth Bryant smiled as she watched the night sky flash bright overhead due to a falling star arcing westward. Its tail stretched to a thin point as it streaked across the sky. It was one of the most beautiful things Ruth had ever seen, and being that it was her first time witnessing this particular prophecy unfolding made the moment even more special.

Vincent, Ruth’s dad, was the one who called her outside to see the spectacular event, and she was glad he did. He stood next to her on the lawn gazing up at the sky with as much wonder as Ruth, even though he had seen this kind of thing eight or nine times in his life.

“There goes another one of the signs of the end right there, Ruth,” Vincent said.

“Yeah, and now they’re reporting all this trouble in the news,” Ruth said. “Mom told me she couldn’t even get as many groceries as she usually gets because the shelves were empty.”

“Right,” Vincent said. “And soon, whatever grocery she’s allowed to purchase will be much more expensive. That’s just how it works.”

The falling star had vanished and the sky had darkened again, but Ruth was still looking up when she said, “If we weren’t in Yah I’d be really scared right now.”

Vincent smiled as he reached over and rubbed the top of Ruth’s head. “My faithful little daughter. You know, Proverbs 10 verse 24 says ‘What the wicked fears will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted.’ You see, it is the wicked people in this world who truly fear and quake in their boots. The righteous don’t fear the day of trouble because they trust in Yah.”

“Like we do,” Ruth said, smiling.

“That’s right,” Vincent replied.

They stood on the lawn staring up at the bright stars in silence for a few more minutes before Edna Bryant stepped through the patio doors and made her way toward them.

“Hey sweetie,” Vincent said before giving Edna a kiss on the cheek. He put his arm around her shoulders and asked, “You felt like you needed some fresh air too?”

“I just got tired of watching the news,” Edna said.

“What are they talking about now?” Ruth asked.

“Oh, they’re still going on about the tragedy in Brooklyn, New York, where all those people were killed trying to get their money from the bank. I tell you it is getting dangerous in those big cities. They also mentioned a similar event in Charleston.”

“You talking about that incident where the tank fired at that hotel?” Vincent asked.

Edna nodded. “Mmm hmmm. That’s the one. Some terrible things are being witnessed in this hour.”

“Tell me about it,” Vincent said. “We’re about to see this evil age come to a close.”

“I had a dream about that, dad,” Ruth said.

Vincent lit up with excitement when he heard this. “A spiritual dream? How long ago did you have it?”

“It was the night they announced that the dollar had fallen or something,” Ruth said.

“It collapsed,” Vincent corrected. “Why didn’t you tell us about it?”

“I didn’t really understand it so I didn’t think it was that important,” Ruth said.

Vincent asked, “What was the dream about?”

“Yes, do tell,” Edna added.

“Well, I was standing in the street of a big city with tall buildings all around me, only they looked broken and crooked. And the streets were completely empty. There were a lot of cars in the streets with their windows smashed and their metal all twisted like they were all in a bad accident.

“And the street itself had a big crack that ran up the center of it, and some of the cars and trucks had fallen into the crack like they’d been swallowed up. That’s how big and deep the crack was. And a loud screeching sound made me look up at the sky, which was a dark, dark red that made everything look a little red too.

“And I saw a big tornado forming above the buildings. It was really wide, so wide that I could barely see the edges of it. Well, it swooped in and started to suck up everything in front of me, the broken buildings, some steel, a lot of rubble, all the cars, a few street lamps, and even some of the broken pieces of the street. But somehow I wasn’t scared. I kept looking at the tornado as it came toward me and just before it sucked me up it stopped.

“I kept looking at the tornado until it started moving toward me again, but I just stood there. And you know what?”

“What?” her parents asked at the same time.

“The tornado passed right over me without even make my hair stir or anything. I looked up and saw all the way up to the red sky. It was all dark inside the tornado but there was a small hole at the very top as though it was a long cone, and it just passed right over me without even hurting me. But after it passed over I turned around and saw it smashing and tossing more buildings and cars and other things. And then my forehead felt funny, like it was getting heavy, and when I woke up I was really rubbing my forehead.”

Ruth’s parents stared at her in silence for a few beats, and then they shared a glance before looking at her again.

“Ruth, sweetie, we believe that’s a prophetic dream,” Edna said.

“Yes, Ruth,” Vincent said. “Yah promised to pour out his spirit on us in the last days and send visions and dreams to his people. I believe your dream is part of that prophecy.”

Ruth thought about that for a moment and then smiled a broad smile. “That’s amazing. You’re saying you think that dream was from Yah?”

Vincent nodded. “Yes. In fact, Revelation 7 says that the 144,000 are sealed in their foreheads and I believe that’s so nothing can harm them. I think that is what is meant by the tornado passing right over you without even moving your hair like you said.”

Edna looked in her husband’s face and chuckled. “What, are you Vincent, the interpreter of dreams now, like Joseph or Daniel?”

Vincent shook his head. “Oh, no, no. I’m just comparing her dream to clear passages in the Scriptures. Don’t put that on me.”

“I’m only joking, Vincent,” Edna said, smiling.

Vincent looked down at Ruth again. “Seriously though, I think your dream is showing us a little bit of what is to come. The cities are going to be judged by Yah.”

“Looks like they’re already being judged,” Edna said, “along with the rest of the world.”

“Wait a second,” Ruth said. “Is dad saying he thinks I’m one of the 144,000?”

Edna looked at her husband in anticipation.

“No,” Vincent said. “That’s not for me or anyone to say but Yah himself. He knows who’ll be standing in front of his throne, spotless and perfect in faith. But your dream is still prophetic I think. Who knows, you just might be one of them, but don’t quote me on that.” Vincent smiled.

“I won’t, dad,” Ruth said. “But hopefully, I am one of them. It would be great to not have to die so I could just walk into the kingdom eternal already.”

“That would be great, sweets,” Edna said, “but it’s very important that you don’t fear death, like your father and I have been teaching you.”

“Your mother’s right, Ruth,” Vincent said.

“I know, and I don’t fear death,” Ruth said, before hanging her head and looking a little doubtful. “At least I don’t think I fear it.”

“Whether you do or you don’t,” Vincent said, “Yah is able to strengthen us when the time comes. That’s what we’ve been praying for.”

“And it will continue to be our prayer,” Edna added.

Ruth looked up at her parents and said, “I hear you.” She smiled again. “But it would still be great to not have to die.”

“Can’t argue with you there,” Vincent said as he rubbed the top of Ruth’s head. “Listen, if you have any more dreams like that please let us know. It’s very important. Okay?”

“Okay, dad,” Ruth said. “I will from now on.”

“Well, if there are no objections, I was going to make some tea for everyone and we could talk Scripture. I could use a break from all the bad news.”

“You okay with that Ruth?” Vincent asked.

“Sure am,” Ruth said. “Then maybe we could pray for some of the people who are trapped in those big cities. A lot of them look like they could use some prayer right now.”

“That’s a great idea, Ruth,” Edna said. “That’s the kind of spirit Yah is looking for. Maybe we should do that before and after tea.”

Ruth smiled. “I’d like that,” she said, and then followed her mom and dad back to the house.

“Repent!” Jamal Byers yelled as he and Tyrell Biggs—his friend and neighbor—walked through the streets of Evanston, Illinois. “The kingdom is coming. Get your mind and your heart right with the Most High before it’s too late.” Tyrell was less vocal. He seemed to be lost in his thoughts, and Jamal noticed. “You all right, man?” Jamal asked when they turned another corner.

“These people aren’t waking up,” Tyrell said with irritation. He was aiming a hand toward the other side of the street where a few black teenagers were standing with bottles of beer in hand. The four boys had their backs to Jamal and Tyrell. They seemed as disinterested in Jamal’s cry for repentance as everyone else they had passed. “We’re out here wasting our time.”

“We’re watchmen on the wall, Ty,” Jamal said. “Like it says in the book of Ezekiel. If we don’t warn them, who will?”

“Man, they know what time it is,” Tyrell said. “The world turned upside down this past week. They see it, but they don’t care.”

“So what are you saying? Are we supposed to just leave them be because they’re not coming up to us asking what they need to do to get right with Yah?”

Tyrell stared at his friend while he thought about his statement. Then he said, “You think we’re going to be the ones to wake these people up? I don’t see it like that. Yeshua himself was the Messiah, the King of Israel, and Hebrews from his time didn’t hear him. You think these stiff-necked, hard-headed Hebrews are going to hear the two of us today? Nothing has changed, man.”

“That may be, Ty, but he and the twelve still managed to reach who they could reach, right or wrong?”

Tyrell said nothing.

“All right then,” Jamal said. “We still have to keep coming at these slumbering Hebrews. Something has to wake them up. If not us and people like us, then some personal crisis or disaster or something will do it. But those who will wake up will wake up. It’s all there in the Scriptures. We just have to keep doing our small part in all this.”

“I hear what you’re saying, Jamal,” Tyrell said. “But I have to hand it to you. You have way more patience than me.”

“Then pray for more patience, Ty,” Jamal said, “because you’re going to need it.”

Tyrell knew exactly what Jamal meant. He had seen the footage of Downtown Chicago, as well as footage from other big cities throughout the United States. In all of them the story was the same—chaos ruled supreme and the nation as a whole was being judged by Yah. And that judgment wasn’t restricted to the cities. There was also turmoil being felt in rural areas of America. Farmers looked out at fields that had been destroyed by a series of powerful tornados that ripped across the country. And other farmers stood over ripe fields that couldn’t be harvested due to labor shortages, stock market crashes, and a lack of delivery runs, seeing trucks had stopped hauling goods and products.

While there were hungry people in the cities and towns and farms loaded with food that was ready to be harvested and delivered, there was no existing market that could fulfill any of this. The story was worse in other countries, especially the poorest ones, where things were already bad before the collapse of the U.S. dollar, the Euro, and other currencies. Within one week, markets had dried up everywhere, and people were suffering in great numbers. So a little patience was the least Tyrell could pray for.

They were three blocks from Jamal’s house so they made a beeline toward his front steps. The two teens were exhausted from walking around and warning residents to repent, and both of their bellies were growling.

“Man I hope your mom has more of that rotisserie chicken in the fridge,” Tyrell said.

“Nah, my dad finished that off last night,” Jamal said. “We have some expensive meatloaf, though. My mom spent a lot buying ground turkey yesterday. Man, it is crazy out there, but she insists on stocking up on foods we’re used to eating, despite the price hikes and food shortages.”

“You all must be really blessed,” Tyrell said. “We eat nothing but sandwiches in my house these days.”

As soon as they climbed the front steps, Jamal’s father, Malcolm, cornered him at the entrance, having come from the living room.

“Jamal, I need to talk to you,” Malcolm said.

Jamal turned to Tyrell and told him, “I’ll meet you up in my room.”

Tyrell nodded and bolted up the steps.

Jamal followed his father into the kitchen and joined him at the breakfast table.

Malcolm looked a little uncomfortable, shifting in his chair and rubbing his forehead. “I’ve been meaning to talk you,” he managed to say after a moment.

“About what?” Jamal asked.

“You know this isn’t easy for me,” Malcolm said.

Jamal sensed an apology coming on. His father was known for being bad at making apologies, and his mother, Alice, often joked that the reason for this was due to Malcolm not having enough practice at it.

“The other day, when I was stuck in Chicago, I got a chance to talk to a co-worker of mine, Julio Diaz. Well, he and I got to talking about some scriptural stuff and—” Malcolm smiled. “Needless to say, a lot of the things you’ve been saying around here started flooding out of my mouth son.”

This surprised Jamal. “What?” he said, slamming both hands flat against the tabletop, and smiling.

Malcolm was grinning now. “Yeah. Don’t ask me what happened, but those seeds you’ve been planting around here finally took root in me, boy. I guess you can count me a believer.”

“Dad, are you serious?” Jamal asked. His mind flooded with all kinds of thoughts, most of them snippets of the many conversations he’d had with his dad. He wondered which ones did the trick and got him to embrace the truth. “So, you believe Yahushua is our Redeemer and King?” Jamal asked.

Malcolm nodded. “Yup.”

“And you believe, I mean, you know we’re the true Hebrews?”

“Yes, son,” Malcolm said. “I know it and feel it in my bones. I can’t quite explain it, but something awakened inside of me. It’s like someone flipped a switch and my mind turned on to something amazing. Something you’ve been trying to share with me for a while now.”

“That’s the Spirit of the Most High, dad,” Jamal said. “That’s how it works. The Spirit just comes in you, wakes you up to the truth and it’s as though you always knew or something.” Jamal held his head with both hands, still in disbelief. “This is amazing, dad. I don’t know what to say.”

“You can start with thanking Yah,” Malcolm said. He pushed his chair back and stood up. After walking around to Jamal he said, “Come here,” while holding out his arms.

Jamal stood up and shared a hug with his father in the middle of the kitchen, just as Alice Byers stepped into the kitchen doorway and leaned against the frame, watching them in silence. Her smile was bigger than both of theirs.

At that very moment, the hug fest was over, Tyrell ran down to the middle of the staircase and yelled, “Jamal, Mr. and Mrs. Byers, turn on the television in the living room. You have to see this.”

The three members of the Byers family rushed into the living room and Jamal flipped the TV on. Tyrell joined them by taking a seat in an armchair next to the sofa. The channel the television was tuned to was already showing the news and Jamal looked over at Tyrell to confirm the footage.

“Is this what you were talking about?” he asked.

“Yeah, take a look,” Tyrell said.

A helicopter was flying over lower Manhattan in New York City, where hundreds of thousands of people jammed the streets. They were on foot, in cars, on bikes, and many people were being trampled in the pandemonium and chaos that was evident amid the many crowds. They were all trying to escape something. A digital map faded into view on the screen and an anchorwoman explained the visual.

“What we’re looking at is an area over the Atlantic Ocean where a 9.7 magnitude earthquake was reported an hour ago. The earthquake occurred on the ocean floor, and being that shallow it will result in a massive rupture zone. As we have been reporting, a large tsunami is heading toward the east coast and it will hit within five hours. Scientists are saying that perhaps a series of tsunamis are expected.

“As many of you already know, tsunamis are large ocean waves mainly created by shallow earthquakes, and they carry a destructive force. A complete evacuation has been ordered from the coast of Massachusetts down to the coast of Georgia for the rapidly advancing tsunami. Residents and visitors in these areas are urged to evacuate immediately. Do not rely on door to door notification.”

A helicopter flying over the Atlantic Ocean beamed an image of the tsunami back to the studio, and the video featured a wall of water that was approximately 2,500 feet in height. The anchorwoman announced, “We’ve just received a new image of the tsunami in motion. As you can see, it appears to hold the record run-up height for tsunamis recorded anywhere in the world.”

Alice Byers covered her mouth with both hands and whispered, “Yah have mercy.”

“Come on, just pack one change of clothes and let’s go,” Khalia told her eldest son, Nathaniel. The three members of the James family were running around the house like frantic cats, packing clothes and grabbing items they felt they needed before heading out to beat the coming tsunami.

“That’s what I’m doing, mom,” Nathaniel said with irritation. “I’m moving as fast as I can.”

They had managed to make it back to the highway the day the military tank had fired at a hotel in Charleston, South Carolina. They hadn’t walked the highway more than fifteen minutes before a kind elderly couple picked them up and drove them home. Then came news of the coming tsunami, racing toward the Northeast shore of the United States.

Reginald James, who was still in California, had seen the tsunami reports as well, and he had called Khalia ten times in two hours sounding panicked. Khalia had to calm him down each time and assure him they were fine. On the last call, she had to be more stern, warning Reginald that he was keeping them from packing and making it out of Georgia.

By the time Khalia, Nathaniel, and Caleb made it outside, the street in front of their house was congested, as hundreds of cars were crawling toward the main road that led to the onramp for the highway that headed west. In addition to the mad rush, many abandoned cars still clogged the roadways due to the looming gas shortage that affected most of Georgia.

“Mom, there’s no way we can get to the car rental place in all this,” Nathaniel said.

Khalia set her bag on the sidewalk and held her head in dismay. She closed her eyes and uttered a silent prayer, asking for Yah’s guidance yet again. Yah, you’ve said in your Word that you will lead us and instruct us, and guide us with your own eye. I believe I am one of your sheep, and your sheep hear your voice. Please tell me what I’m to do now. Right now. We have nowhere to go, and no way of getting out of here. A threat is approaching us and we have no way of escaping it. Please tell me what to do, in Yeshua’s precious name. HalleluYah.

“Mom, what are we going to do?” Nathaniel asked.

Khalia looked down at him in silence, and her gaze shifted to her other son, Caleb, who stood next to him, gazing at all the traffic in wonder. At that moment, a scripture verse popped into her head, and she could almost hear the voice of Yah reciting it to her. It was Isaiah 26 verse 20.

Go home, my people, and lock your doors! Hide yourselves for a little while until Yah’s anger has passed.

“We’re going back inside boys,” Khalia said in a calm even voice. She was completely reassured of Yah’s protection and mercy at that moment.

A calm soon washed over her two boys as well, and they followed her into the house in silence, leaving the line of cars and frustrated drivers behind, with all their honking and engine-revving and obscene yelling.

Once inside, an indescribable sense of tranquility filled the house. Khalia could sense Yah’s presence around her and his Spirit moving her. She noticed the calm in her two boys as well. They both sat quietly on the couch in the living room. Khalia placed their bags in their room and came to sit with them on the couch when she was through.

She plopped down between her sons and draped her arms over their shoulders, and then she asked, “Do you two trust in Yah with all your heart?” Her gaze shifted from Caleb to Nathaniel as she waited for their response.

Caleb was fidgeting and rubbing his knee aimlessly when he said, “I think I do mommy. Does it mean to not worry about things because he’ll take care of it?”

Khalia kissed Caleb on the forehead. “Yes, something like that Caleb. It means believing that he will take care of you in all things, even if it means leaving this world behind.”

“You mean dying, right mom?” Nathaniel said.

Khalia looked at Nathaniel and noted the frown on his face. “That’s exactly what I mean. As believers, we have to be prepared for that also, Nate. But you still haven’t answered my question. Do you trust in Yah with all your heart?”

Nathaniel leaned his head back against the couch and closed his eyes. “I don’t know, mom. It’s hard to say. I get scared sometimes.”

“I sense you’re a little afraid now,” Khalia said.

“I am,” Nathaniel replied.

“I’m sure you remember Salinas and the big earthquake we survived,” Khalia said.

“Of course I do, mom,” Nathaniel said.

“Did Yah take care of you then?” Khalia asked.

Nathaniel, his eyes still closed, nodded in silence.

“We still serve the same Creator, Nate,” Khalia said. “The one who will see us through this coming danger. Did you have faith in him when the earthquake hit?”

Nate opened his eyes and looked at his mom’s face. “I did. I said a prayer.”

“And was it answered?” Khalia asked.

“Yes,” Nate said.

“Then that’s your answer right there, Nate,” Khalia said.

Nate closed his eyes again and leaned his head back, smiling. “Yeah. Yeah, it is.”

Khalia sat up and shifted to the edge of the couch. “Let’s say a prayer together.”

The boys agreed, and the three of them knelt down in front of the couch and prayed aloud in turn, asking for Yah’s protection, a large portion of his spirit, and strength and faith to endure the coming peril. They knelt there praying for a long time, so long that Caleb fell asleep. Khalia picked him up and put him to bed and then rejoined Nathaniel in front of the couch.

They could still hear cars honking outside the house, but then something else could be heard. A dull, heavy whoosh of water that intensified as the apparent waves drew nearer. Suddenly, many screams could be heard outside, followed by the sounds of the panicked rushing of a mob. Caleb awoke and ran into the living room, joining his mother and brother in front of the couch. Khalia had him kneel down next to her and the three of them continued in prayer.

People could be heard shouting, “Run. Run for your lives!” or “We’re all going to die!” while others yelled for someone to save them. Many cried out for the Creator, using the false titles and names adopted by Christianity, but their cries went up in vain.

Khalia stood up and moved the living room curtain aside in time to see the five-hundred-foot wall of water engulfing trees and homes before them. The boys knelt on the couch on either side of Khalia and they saw the destruction for themselves. People were scrambling to and fro, many of them running on the rooftops and hoods of cars because there was no room anywhere else.

Electricity sparked in the distance as a transformer blew and Khalia and the boys looked up when the lights in their house flickered before going out altogether. As the wall of water surged forward, the sky darkened and Khalia held her boys close. They huddled together on the couch as they watched people and cars being swept away and houses flattened. In an instant, the waters had overtaken their home as the waves passed, and the view through the window was complete blackness.

Large objects could be heard crashing into the walls of their house or scraping alongside them as they were carried away by the strong currents, but nothing penetrated the walls. And not even a drop of water managed to seep in. The windows and doors held, and the house was unshaken.

The darkness behind them was soon overtaken by a brilliant white light that filled the entire room. Khalia and her boys turned to see what it was and were temporarily blinded. They were forced to shield their eyes when a comforting voice could be heard saying, “Be at peace, fellow servants. Your salvation draws near.”

It was then that Khalia realized a heavenly messenger was speaking to them. She suddenly felt weak in its presence, as an overwhelming purity emanated from the being and flooded the room.

“Be strengthened,” Khalia heard the messenger say, just as her spirit was revived within her. She and the boys were able to open their eyes and behold a winged being that seemed to be clothed in light. “I am sent to tell you that all will be well and your prayers were heard. The one whom you serve, the Great Redeemer, has instructed me to say, ‘Your faith has saved you.’ ”

Khalia remembered the tsunami and was urged to ask, “How are we going to get out of here? What do we do?”

“The Spirit of the Most High will carry you to a place of safety,” the messenger said. And in an instant, the room became dark again as the messenger vanished from view.

The sound of a rushing wind could be heard in the room and Khalia and her two sons felt themselves being lifted in the air, and the Spirit of Yah carried them away, making them intangible so that they were no longer solid beings. They flew through the ceiling and were whisked afar off. In what felt like seconds, they found themselves in an open field of green with rolling hills all around. Atop one of the hills, far in the distance, was a large farm house. Khalia and her boys started the long trek toward it.

Shyrece Tucker was at the wheel, with her mother, Cheryl, seated beside her. They had been driving west for four hours and only hit a little traffic while passing through New Jersey on the 280. But it was clear sailing when they hit Interstate 80 and barreled through Pennsylvania. They had been among the first to leave when word first broke of a tsunami approaching. Cheryl kept her eyes glued to the television so she saw the story air before there was any footage of the tsunami itself.

The first warning had been enough for Cheryl. In less than fifteen minutes they had grabbed a few essentials and quickly loaded up Cheryl’s sedan and tore out of Brooklyn without looking back. Since the streets had been cleared of many of the abandoned cars they had no trouble getting to the highway. And the highway itself was clear as far as they could see.

Cheryl looked down at the gas gauge and said, “We’d better fill up at the next exit. There’s no telling how far we’ll be able to get if there’s no gas available beyond this point.”

“You’re right,” Shyrece said. “We’ve been blessed so far, but why take any chances.”

They took the next exit and found a gas station close to the onramp, which was convenient. While Shyrece filled up the tank, Cheryl went inside the convenience store to relieve herself and freshen up. Shyrece waited in the car when she had finished with the gas but her mom seemed to be taking extra long inside.

Shyrece tapped the steering wheel impatiently as she whispered, “Come on, mom. We’re trying to escape a record tsunami here.” She glanced at the store entrance in time to see her mom standing in the doorway, waving at her to come inside. Shyrece grunted and said, “What now?”

When Shyrece entered the store, her mom was standing in front of a ceiling-mounted high definition television with her arms folded. She was surrounded by close to a dozen other customers who were staring up at the TV screen with expressions of shock and concern on their faces. Shyrece squeezed in next to her mom and took in the aerial footage of the widespread destruction of the eastern shore of the United States.

The media reported that roughly five hours after an earthquake struck offshore in a recently discovered subduction zone, the first of many waves hit the entire U.S. coastline, as well as three Maritime provinces in Eastern Canada, surprising scientists who expected a smaller target area. And the run-up height—or the height the waves reached inland above sea level— topped out at 500 feet in the southeast portion of the United States.

The powerful surges crushed ships and docks alike and destroyed thousands of multi-story buildings along the eastern seaboard, the top floors and roofs of which many people had fled to for safety. Untold millions died in the rushing waters. The bodies of many victims and millions of tons of debris were pulled into the ocean by the strong surges and would be carried off to other continents over the next few months.

Factories and power plants were destroyed, along with millions of businesses and homes, and power was cut to millions of homes along the eastern shore that were beyond the reach of the waves. Nuclear waste, toxic chemicals, and various deadly gases were released into the atmosphere, and many birds, and land and marine animals were killed.

Someone in the crowd said, “Man, it looks like the end of the world out there.” A woman burst out crying and a man standing next to her put his arm around her shoulders. The crowd became very vocal at that point, with many offering up a range of comments on the disturbing news footage.

Cheryl leaned toward her daughter and whispered, “It’s time to go.”

Shyrece didn’t have to be told twice. She followed her mother out of the convenience store and the two of them drove off, continuing west with a full tank of gas. They drove in silence for about forty-five minutes before Cheryl decided to share her thoughts.

“Can you believe what’s happening?” she asked her daughter.

“Not only can I believe it, I’m glad Yah woke me up in time to not fall victim to these things and be taken in my sins,” Shyrece replied.

Cheryl sat reclined, her right elbow resting on the edge of the car door and sticking through the open window. She watched a broad open field drift by in the distance and said, “Look how tranquil and peaceful it is out here. But back home there’s all that devastation and death. It’s a wonder people are still thinking this is some kind of natural occurrence, like there’s really a Mother Earth and she’s upset with folks.”

Shyrece laughed. “Tell me about it, mom. People can’t recognize Yah’s judgment even when it’s staring them right in the face. They see earthquakes and scientists come out and start explaining things away. All those fish and sea creatures wash up on shores around the world and they have a different explanation for every day of the week.”

Cheryl added, “And people keep buying it.”

“Because they have eyes that see not,” Shyrece said. She glanced at her mother briefly and focused on the road again. “Speaking of which, mom, have you given any further thought to what I’ve been telling you? About us being Hebrews and all?”

Cheryl fidgeted in her seat and pressed the knuckles of her hand to her cheek. “To tell you the truth I don’t really like this subject, Shyrece,” she said.

Shyrece sighed. “Mom, you can’t avoid this subject for long.” She shot her mother a glance again. “You know that don’t you?”

Cheryl was growing frustrated. “What does it matter? Why is it so important that we believe we’re some ancient Hebrews? My Bible tells me we’re all spiritual Israelites and we’re all saved by the same blood of the same anointed savior. So what does it matter?”

“It matters because the Creator of all things feels that it matters,” Shyrece said. “You remember I showed you Deuteronomy 28, and how all those curses only fit one people on this entire earth, especially the part about slavery?”

Cheryl nodded. “I remember.”

“And you clearly see that don’t you?” When Cheryl didn’t reply, Shyrece said, “Well Isaiah 45 and, I think it’s verse 17, says, ‘But Yah will save the people of Israel with eternal salvation. Throughout everlasting ages, they will never again be humiliated and disgraced.’ Everlasting salvation mom. And it mentions Israel specifically. In fact, even Abraham was told by the Most High himself that through him would all the nations of the earth be blessed.”

“Yes, Genesis 18. I know that passage,” Cheryl said, her eyes fixed on the view of trees through the window.

“Well in Isaiah 49 it says that Israel would be a light to the Gentiles. Yah himself said that Jacob was his own special treasure, and Israel his firstborn son among the nations.”

“But Israel failed him,” Cheryl burst out, her hands raised. She regained her composure by smoothing out the fabric of her blouse that ran across the top of her thigh and added. “They committed abominations and were cut off.”

“No mom,” Shyrece said. “While they did commit grave sins, they were never cut off as a people, and the Scriptures say that a remnant of them will return to Yah in the last days. They will remember him and keep his laws. Do you have your Scriptures on you?”

“You mean my Bible?” Cheryl said. “Yes, I always carry it.” She reached for her purse on the backseat, pulled out the Good Book and asked, “What’s the text?”

“Read Ezekiel 6 verses 8 and 9,” Shyrece said.

“Verse 8,” Cheryl said, and she started to read: ‘But I will let a few of my people escape destruction, and they will be scattered among the nations of the world.’ Verse 9. ‘Then when they are exiled among the nations, they will remember me. They will recognize how hurt I am by their unfaithful hearts and lustful eyes that long for their idols. Then at last they will hate themselves for all their detestable sins.”

“You see what I’m saying?” Shyrece said with excitement. “It’s right there.”

“But this is talking about the Jews,” Cheryl said.

“No, no, no, mom. Revelation 2 verse 9 and 3 verse 9. Read those.”

Cheryl flipped to the text and read aloud: “Revelation 2 verse 9. ‘I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan.’ Chapter 3 and verse 9. ‘Look, I will force those who belong to Satan’s synagogue—those liars who say they are Jews but are not—to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love.’ ” Cheryl set the book in her lap and looked reflective.

“You see mom?” Shyrece said. “The world believes the wrong people are the Jews, but there’s a reason for it, and it’s prophesied in Psalm 83. There it talks about 11 nations that conspired to wipe out Israel as a nation and destroy the very memory of our existence. The Khazarians are the ones who replaced us. Those are the ones Yeshua says belong to the Synagogue of Satan. When you tie it in with what happened before, during, and after the slave trade it makes perfect sense.”

For the first time in a long time, Cheryl was speechless. They drove on in silence again for several hours while Cheryl pondered the points her daughter had raised.

The Bryants lived more than 100 miles offshore, which was well out of reach of the treacherous waves of the tsunami. But power had been cut to all of the homes in their area, and roads were clogged with vehicles heading in every direction. There was a panic among the Greenville residents unlike any Vincent and Edna had seen, but they remained steadfast in their faith and were a righteous example to their daughter, Ruth, who was still learning to be obedient in all things.

The family who was staying at the villa for which the adult Bryants worked were fearful and grief-stricken following the immediate effects of the tsunami. They were what the Scriptures referred to as “heathens,” being that all of them were unbelievers and gentiles on top of that. Bill O’Greysik, the dad, was an investment banker, and his wife Anne was a homemaker who had made a career out of raising their four children, two of whom were still under her care. Their first two children were now grown and living on their own in two separate states, but the younger two, twin boys named Chris and Connor, had about eight years left in the care of their parents, being that they were both thirteen-years-old.

Anne and the boys had remained inside since the tsunami had devastated much of the east coast shore of the United States. The three of them were absolutely terrified and Anne could not seem to stop crying. Bill had to leave the house often to get away from the uncontrollable fear his family displayed. Vincent was changing the oil in his truck when Bill walked over to him.

“Afternoon,” Bill said.

“Good afternoon to you,” Vincent replied. “How’s it going today?”

“Not good,” Bill said, adjusting the baseball cap on his head. “Anne is missing home something terrible. Told her there’s no way we can head back to Boston. There’s probably nothing to head back to. It will be many years and many billions of dollars before they get that all cleaned up.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, Bill,” Vincent said. “Hope you’ve got good insurance coverage so you can at least make a new start.”

Bill’s expression saddened and he started to fight back tears. His voiced cracked as he said, “We lost everything. Our entire lives were back there. I don’t . . . I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Vincent finished coating the oil filter gasket and wiped his hands in a stained white cloth before turning to give Bill a big manly hug. He patted Bill’s back several times during their embrace and Bill broke down and sobbed. Bill cried a good cry for about five minutes before the two men broke off their hug. Vincent gave up on the oil change for a moment and faced Bill as he shared his thoughts.

“I don’t know why all this is happening,” Bill said. “First, there was the currency collapse, then this martial law where soldiers and tanks are policing cities and towns, and now this destruction. It feels like everything is falling apart.”

Vincent stared at Bill in silence.

Bill took that as a sign to keep going. “Nature is out of whack and it’s all because of us with our destructive habits and gas guzzling toys.”

“You referring to climate change or what have you?” Vincent asked.

“Global warming, to be exact,” Bill corrected. “You’re up on this stuff aren’t you?”

Vincent offered a half-smile and said, “Actually, I don’t subscribe to those lines of thinking, Bill. Truth is, the only reason these things are happening is because the sins of the world have reached unto heaven and the wrath of the Creator is being poured out on earth. We’re seeing his judgments, and all who live unrighteous lives will be judged accordingly, particularly those who don’t serve or believe in his son.”

Bill wrinkled his face in disgust. “You’re one of them?” He asked, pointing a finger at Vincent.

“One of who?” Vincent asked.

“Those deluded end-times Christians,” Bill said. “Waiting on some fanciful rapture or whatever.”

“I’m no Christian,” Vincent said. “And there’s no such thing as a rapture. Listen, I’ve got to get back to this.” He aimed a thumb at the truck behind him. “If you don’t mind.”

Bill looked humble all of a sudden and said, “Oh, don’t let me hold you up.” He turned to leave and looked back briefly to say, “Thanks for the talk. Appreciate you taking the time.”

“Don’t mention it,” Vincent said, before getting back to his oil change. Vincent shot a glance at Bill a couple times as he made his way toward the villa, and when Bill stepped through the front door, Vincent had to set his bottle of oil aside and stand up.

The ground started to vibrate beneath him and Vincent looked around to see if anything was shaking. He was about to question whether or not it was an earthquake when he saw the villa, all 4,500 square feet of it, being swallowed into the ground where a massive sinkhole had suddenly opened up with a loud rumbling. Vincent quickly walked backward toward his bungalow, where his wife and daughter were, and the sinkhole expanded rapidly, opening its mouth wide to suck in the car the O’Greysiks drove as well as a few trees and shrubs that surrounded the villa itself. The sinkhole stopped short of swallowing Vincent’s truck which was parked in the drive that led up to the villa.

Edna and Ruth rushed outside and saw Vincent standing at the edge of a gigantic crater. They joined him there and peered into its black hole, the bottom of which could not be seen.

“What in the world?” Edna said. “Where are they? Were all of them in the house?”

Vincent nodded.

“I just looked through the window and saw you talking to Bill a moment ago,” Edna said.

“He just went inside before it happened,” Vincent said. He turned to his daughter and said, “Ruth, go call 911. Tell them our address and let them know the house and the family inside were swallowed up.”

Ruth rushed off to do just that.

Vincent said to his wife, “Call the owners on your cell. They need to know what happened right away.”

Edna said, “I will. But first, tell me what you two talked about? What was his final conversation?”

“Well, he heard the truth,” Vincent said. “And he didn’t believe it.”

Edna shook her head and peered into the black hole of the crater again. “So sad.”

“What did Yeshua say about situations like this?” Vincent asked his wife.

She looked at him and said, “Tell me.”

“Luke 13, 1 to 5.”

Edna thought about the passage, which she was familiar with.

About this time Yeshua was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Yeshua asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to Elohim.

And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”

“You’re right,” Edna said. “And this is not the hour to be playing around and living in sin.” She left Vincent at the edge of the crater and went inside to get her mobile phone.

Within a half an hour, rescue crews were on the scene, and two firemen hovered over the crater in a ladder truck bucket to
assess the situation. Others had put up yellow tape around the hole, which was estimated to be over 100 feet deep. None of the family members inside the villa were expected to be found alive, if they were found at all. The Bryant family was questioned by police and firefighters and were then told to pack up and leave the area which was deemed unsafe due to the instability of the ground.

Vincent and Edna’s bosses, a lovely couple who were residents of Brevard, North Carolina, were effectively put out of business by the sinkhole. This also meant that Vincent and Edna were out of work. Following the short interviews, the Bryants went inside the bungalow to pack the few items they felt they needed, and Vincent loaded up the truck before they all piled into the crew cab.

The crews were still busying themselves in Vincent’s rearview mirror as he pulled out of the driveway and through the wrought iron gates of the estate.

As they drove, Edna asked, “So where are we headed?”

Vincent shrugged and said, “Only Yah knows.”

“That works for me,” Edna said. “He hasn’t failed us yet.”

“And he never will,” Ruth said from the backseat. “As long as we stay faithful to him.”

Her parents commended her for what she said and they all smiled as they headed west.

News of the tsunami hitting the east coast spread quickly and the aftermath caused many disruptions in the lives of Americans as far as the Midwest and beyond. But although the economic collapse had been bad, the immediate effects of the tsunami were worse. Chicago was not spared from these effects because pandemonium erupted throughout the city and its surrounding suburbs.

Violence in the city, which already ran high before the recent economic meltdown and disasters struck, reached a peak of epic proportions and started to spread to the safer areas of Illinois. The lives of many citizens were ended abruptly by cruel acts of brutality. Not only were gang rivalries to blame, but also new neighborhood tensions that grew out of the recent crises.

Thousands of police officers were deployed to the streets of Chicago, but when many of them were killed as a result of local skirmishes with armed citizens, extra military units were called in. The scene on many television screens looked like something out of Fallujah in Iraq or Aleppo in Syria. The streets of Chicago looked war-torn, as bodies and debris were strewn all about. Many buildings looked bombed out after tanks had fired into them to end armed standoffs, and raging fires blazed from newly gutted businesses that had been looted during mass riots. It was utter chaos.

The scene in the Byers household was tense, given the recent developments. Malcolm Byers had been out of work for over a week, and his former co-worker, Julio Diaz, had made it a habit of visiting on a daily basis to engage in scripture studies with Malcolm and his son, Jamal. Julio was in the company of the Byers family when Malcolm called a family meeting in the living room. Tyrell Biggs, Jamal’s neighbor, and best friend, was also in attendance, as he had come over to spend the day as usual.

As he stood at the center of the living room, with everyone seated around him, Malcolm looked at Julio and said, “Sorry, Julio, but there’ll be no scripture study today.”

“That’s all right, my friend,” Julio said, smiling. “I’m here for the company anyway.”

“Oh, that’s so sweet,” Alice Byers said. She sat near Julio in Malcolm’s armchair.

“Listen, we clearly see what’s taking place in Chicago,” Malcolm said, as he glanced around the room at everyone, “and things are starting to get bad right outside our windows. It’s getting really dangerous out there, and I don’t think this is the place to be anymore.”

Jamal, seeming a bit uneasy, shifted his position on the sofa. “What exactly are you saying, dad?”

Malcolm looked at his son, who he had a new respect for. “I’m saying we have to leave Evanston.” Malcolm shifted his gaze to Tyrell. “Now Tyrell, I know your parents aren’t believers, and they don’t recognize that they’re even Hebrews, but that doesn’t change the fact that you have to make your own decisions as concerns your salvation. You know we’re in the last days, right?”

“Of course, Mr. Byers,” Tyrell said. “I hear you, and I’m not going to let their unbelief change who I am.”

“I’m talking more than that, Tyrell,” Malcolm said. “What I mean is, you may have to leave them if you want to keep on this walk. You understand?”

Tyrell leaned back on the sofa, his expression at once grave and reflective. “I hadn’t thought about that,” he said, mostly to himself.

“I figured you hadn’t,” Malcolm said.

“Well, why don’t you pray on it,” Alice suggested. “Serious prayer is needed in moments like these. Our heavenly Father will guide you if you ask him to.”

“I can’t argue with that, Mrs. Byers,” Tyrell said, attempting a smile.

“You’re welcome to come with us,” Malcolm said, which caused Jamal to shoot him a curious gaze.

“Come with us where?” Jamal asked with alarm.

“Your father and I have been discussing this subject, Jamal,” Alice said, and everyone turned their attention to her. “We feel it’s time to head to the country.”

Jamal looked confused. He shook his head as though he was trying to make sense of what he was hearing and said, “It sounds like you all are ready to run. But we’re not supposed to be in that flee mentality.”

“Well, we can’t stay here, son,” Malcolm said. “It’s too dangerous, and food is running out. When it’s all gone people will really go savage around here. And how many times do the Scriptures warn of fleeing danger?”

That silenced Jamal.

“Look,” Julio said, “I’ve got a few savings, and since I live alone and have no one who is willing to listen to me anyway, I’m coming with you all if you’ll have me. I can pay my way.”

“We’d love to have you, Julio,” Malcolm said.

Tyrell sat on the edge of the sofa cushion, his brow furrowed. “Well, I’m not going to miss my chance either. I’ll be praying for Yah’s guidance, but in the meantime, I want to make it clear that I’m on board with this. You all are not leaving me here.”

“That’s fine by us but you’ve got to speak to your parents about this,” Alice said. “Whether they believe or not, they are still your parents, and you have to honor them.”

“I’ll speak to them about it, Mrs. Byers,” Tyrell said. “But when are we leaving?”

“The sooner the better,” Malcolm said. “I’d like to get out of here in a day or so. Does that give everybody time to get things in order or what?”

Everyone agreed with the timeframe, and Julio and Tyrell left the Byers residence to take care of their own personal matters. Almost two days later, the Byers family, along with Julio and Tyrell, loaded into Malcolm’s SUV and Julio’s station wagon and set out for Moultrie County, to a family farm just outside a small village called Lovington, which wasn’t far from Springfield, Illinois. Tyrell had bid farewell to his parents without much resistance from them and was happy to be leaving Evanston and the rest of Greater Chicago behind, a large swath of which smoldered in the distance.

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Below are honest reviews from readers who received free digital copies of One Taken, The Other Left:

I just finished reading this book. It was very powerful and reassuring and had me on the verge of tears. I'm fairly new to this walk. I am grateful for watchmen like yourself. Although I'm not a young adult, this book pricked my heart. It helped increase my faith. I read it straight through in about an hour. Just putting out truth, as opposed to that misleading "Left Behind" series, was an awesome gesture, and sorely needed. Great read. Especially Khalia's story. I, too, have felt and been isolated from my family. I find comfort that Yah will never abandon me!

K’Sandra S.

Shalawam Kingdom Preppers.

I just want to give feedback/review on the novel One Taken, The Other Left.

First off, I want to say ALL PRAISES TO THE MOST HIGH YAH for HIS understanding. I was able to read this novel with my eyes open. Every family touched me in a way, letting me know if I stand strong and abide by YAH's word, stay steadfast, and keep the Faith in YAH, HE will bring me through each situation. I can relate to each family in some way. [SPOILER ALERT] The family with the mom and two sons who was stuck in the mist of the tsunami . . . their story stands out the most to me. They prayed, kept the faith, believed, and did what YAH wanted them to do and YAH saved them. [END OF SPOILER] It was a blessing to read this. It opened my eyes even more and gave me great encouragement. If you don't mind I would definitely like to send it out to other fellow Hebrews that they may get the message of YAH from it as well. Todah, Todah, Todah for all you do. Prayers going up to the FATHER that you continue to Prep for the Kingdom. HALLELUYAH.


Hi Kingdom Pepper.

Just finished reading your novel. I can only describe the novel in one word: AWESOME! Todah Rabah for sending this PDF novel to me! I will share your work with family & friends (may lose many of both, but Yah is merciful). Continue doing this kingdom work, family. Shalom!

Ed (Boaz)

Shalom Ahk! Riveting, to say the least. I enjoyed this book IMMENSELY. I loved how down to earth and realistic the characters are. It was as if I was there experiencing everything and more importantly the SPIRITUAL accuracy and references were AWEsome!!! I am so looking "FORWARD" to the next book. Todah for FREELY sharing your talents and blessings with us which we so desperately need during this TIME. I pray The Most High YHWH, continues to anoint ALL the KINGDOM WORK/EFFORT and bless you and your loved ones with ALL he deems you deserve.

The Most High’s Child

Shalom My Brother. I just finished the book and it was great man. The imagery you used definitely made me feel like I was in each one of the different situations you presented, man. I hope The Most High puts it on your heart to do another book. The site is great, man, and just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy and appreciate all the hard work you are putting in. Be easy and Yah Bless. Shalom!

Tramehl West

I really enjoyed the novel and will be checking back often for Part Two. It opened my eyes to other prophetic scriptures I haven’t read and also serves as a model of how to share the truth. I usually sleep on the train to work, but today I had something wonderful to read :)

Please keep writing more novels. We need it. Other forms of entertainment are a distraction as you mentioned in a video. This type of novel keeps our thoughts on things above.

Glad to see also that your novel and video touches on the alphabet Israelites on the street corners – I found this very discouraging when I first came into truth. Thankfully Yah kept me moving towards the truth of His word.

I came across your site after viewing a YouTuber that had your video documentary on the Sabbath. Glad I saw it as I was looking for dedicated and informative content that focused on scriptures. . . .

Diana F.

Shalom family, I finally had time to finish the book One Taken, The Other Left. This book was an amazing read. I loved it! It kept my attention the entire time. [SPOILER ALERT] My favorite part of the book was with Khalia and her sons when the tsunami hit and they were saved, that scene put a huge smile on my face. I could see it so clearly. Simply beautiful.

When the house that Bill and his family lived in fell through the sinkhole, my jaw dropped. I was was not expecting that at all. I mean as soon as Vincent was done talking to Bill and Bill rejected the wisdom from Vincent, Bill walked into his home and it was gone! [END OF SPOILER]

The story lines were amazing and well put together. I am a homeschooling mom of four little ones and for my older ones this is a good book to do a literature study on. It’s written in a way that even our little young ones can read and its not too long. It’s a great length. This is a book that we will be reading over the school year. I am going to create some worksheets and interesting crafts and study units to go along with the book (Yah willing).

Thank you so much.

Jamie N.

Just finished reading One Taken, The Other Left, and I must say it had me in tears because of the characters’ absolute faith and trust in Yah. It gave me spiritual encouragement to do better and stand firm in my walk. While reading this, I prayed for my children and my SDA family members to wake up before it’s too late.


I enjoyed reading this book! I read the entire book in one sitting - couldn't put it down wanting to know what happens to my fellow Hebrew Israelites. A lot of good information weaved into the story - great job!

Donna W.

Brilliant. Each scenario was well thought out, meaningful, and purposeful. Overall, magnificent work. I have introduced Kingdom Preppers to some family members. Thanks for your obedience/faithfulness, may YHWH give you all of your desires which line up with his will. Shalom!

Naomi Jehudiyah

I was deeply moved. The book was so well written that I felt as though I was living through or could have been living through the eyes of your characters. The deliverance of these truths, through the different scenarios, allowed me to identify with my upcoming struggles, journeys, and realities. For that I thank you for opening my eyes wider and enhancing my hearing while leading me to a better understanding. Fabulous Universal Read. For this I say, Thank you. All honor and praise to "Yah" while you continue your Work, for the Harvest is great.

Otis F. (NY)

This book has opened my eyes even more. It's given me calm and a sense of ease on what's to come I thank TMH [The Most High] Yah for you all and I can't wait for part 2. Shalom ahch & achot. Be encouraged.

Daniel H.

Splendid!!! I love reading any and everything about YAH and the kingdom, especially when the topic is meaningful and edifying. I also love to be fed spiritual food on a daily basis if led to do so.

This book, "One taken,the other left," is a 5-star meal!! And even though I have completed the book I can still savor the message just like after a great meal.

It is so amazing how the Most High YAH gives confirmation to his Revelation. It just so happens that recently I was listening to a video entitled "The Bible Unlocked: The Rapture Deception," which talked about the one being taken will be the dead one and the one left behind will be the one who has to endure. Then months later, I stumble upon (nope I was divinely led to your website) and I read your novel that confirmed the deception that was erroneously taught in my former church about the one being taken would be caught in the sky with the Messiah.

Oh how I just love how my teacher (The Ruach HaKodesh) who leads me to all Truth and at the time that I need to know it. (John 16:13)

Thanks, Kingdom Preppers, for being the vessel for YAH to teach and / or confirm his Revelation to his hungry and faithful children.

Sincerely, Lavette, J. Cleveland, OH

Each chapter keeps you reading to the next! Can't wait to hear what happened to Khalia and her sons!

R. Clement

Loved it. Want more. I love to read, and loved reading fiction prior to learning that I was Hebrew, and now I would love to read more Hebrew fiction just for pleasure. Thank you so much for writing this short novel. Shalom

Vannessa L.

Edited for clarity

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