Brink of chaos, p.1
Brink of Chaos,
Part #3 of The End Series series by Tim LaHaye
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR
& CRAIG PARSHALL
A JOSHUA JORDAN NOVEL
THE END SERIES
To all those who see
the chaotic events in the Middle East
as a fulfillment of End Times Bible Prophecy
and want to be ready when it happens
About the Authors
Praise for Brink of Chaos
Praise for Other Books in The End Series
Other Books by Tim LaHaye
Prophecy Books by Tim LaHaye
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR BRINK OF CHAOS
About the Publisher
Share Your Thoughts
In the Near Future
The voice called to him so powerfully that it reverberated in his chest as if he were standing on the thundering edge of Niagara Falls.
For a split second he couldn’t feel his heart beating. When he sensed it thumping again, he tried to speak, fumbling for the words. When he was finally able to reply, the words caught in his throat. “Here. Yes. I’m here.”
The darkness began to part, first at the edges. Then there was the flood of illumination, an ocean of light like nothing he had ever seen. He had seen the northern lights a few times, years before, when he was stationed in Alaska. The night sky had lit up with a shimmering, iridescent band. Sweeping waves of color had rippled across the night sky like translucent ribbons.
But that was nothing compared to this. What he saw now was … indescribable. He tried to catch his breath.
Am I in the air?
Yes, there was the sensation of flying.
But flying had been his life, hadn’t it? Piloting test planes for the Air Force. Flying a series of combat missions in Iraq and advanced U-2 spy-plane flights over Iran. Shaking hands with a president. Finishing his MIT degree and his defense-contracting work on fighter jets at his own tech company, Jordan Technologies, and his spectacular business success and impressive financial fortune that quickly followed. And later his creation of the ultimate missile defense system, Return to Sender — RTS. And the incredible turn of events that led to another meeting with yet another president, and his reluctant defiance of Congress and his having to face down a court order from a federal judge to protect his country. And then those political, legal, and personal hurricanes that resulted from all of that. But all the time, at the center of it all, flying machines. Those designs and schematics of his for devices that utilized the rules of engineering, physics, thrust, and avionics to blast through the air. Inventions of speed and deadly accuracy. Made of steel, electrical wire, computer chips, and lasers. The genius of man.
But this was different. What Joshua was experiencing now, his journey upward as he defied gravity, this was beyond the ability of man. Beyond all physics. Beyond nature. Somewhere a golden note sounded like the chorus of a thousand trumpets, and it filled the sky with sound. Thrilling, thrilling. His heart beat faster. Then he looked down at the ground disappearing under his feet, and he saw the houses and cars and fields and highways grow smaller. He recognized a farmhouse down there. Was it his boyhood home in Colorado? It all grew dimmer. But there was no sadness in that for him.
No looking back.
Now he was aware that there were others. Flying. An army of human beings rocketing upward. A voice was calling. The voice of a woman. His mother? It was her voice as she led his Sunday school class when he was a boy. What verse from Scripture was that from? The voice was saying …
Caught up … Caught up …
Joshua looked around in utter amazement. A sea of faces. He called out to find one in particular. He had to find her. The woman he loved. He was searching frantically for his wife.
Abby! Abby! Where are you?
But the lights suddenly went out. Darkness. He was falling. Hurtling downward.
Tumbling back to earth.
Joshua found himself grabbing frantically for the controls. He realized he was in the cockpit of a jet and it was going down. Warning bells were ringing from the flight deck. He tried to bring the jet out of its death spiral, but it plunged toward earth in a sickening, dizzying spin.
Hit the Eject button. Now.
He fumbled for the control that would blow the canopy open, flinging him into the sky with the line of parachute in a thin trail above him, catching the air and expanding over his head with a billowing curtain of safety.
More frantic grabbing. He couldn’t find it.
The earth in all its permanence was racing up to meet him at supersonic speed. No time … the end … I’m going to … Silence. And darkness.
Joshua bolted upright.
He tried to clear his head, wondering whether his eyes were open or still shut.
Where am I?
He was in bed, sweat beading on his forehead. The realization now hit him.
A dream. It was only a dream. All of it.
Joshua ran his hand over his face and swung his legs over the side of the bed. He grabbed the clock on the nightstand next to him. Five in the morning. What time zone was this? Then he remembered. He was in a hotel in Asia, and in a few hours he would be Speaking to a large church group. Might as well get up, he thought.
He made his way to the bathroom, turned on the light, and splashed water on his face. He looked in the mirror. The face still had a square jaw framed against the athletic neck and shoulders. But his dark, short hair was thinning into a widow’s peak, with signs of grey at the temple. There were bags under his eyes.
He had the unmistakable feeling that time was running out … the two-minute warning for the world. The powerful impression left from his dream still hung in the air, like a thin white contrail in the sky. He had always been a rock-solid guy,
He tried to shake it all off and threw more cold water on his face. But it was still there, almost palpable. He toweled off and walked back to the hotel bedroom, which was blandly decorated with grass paper and paintings of thin, wispy trees. Joshua picked up the small framed photo from the nightstand. A picture of his wife, Abigail, taken shortly before they were separated by circumstances beyond their control. She was still beautiful, ageless it seemed. Dark hair, dark eyes, and a deep dimple that appeared in her slender face when she smiled.
Abby, are you alright?
The room felt gloomy. The darkness was breaking into dawn outside. A few moments later he could see slivers of sunlight framing the window shades. Joshua dropped to his knees next to the bed with the simplicity of a boy.
Time to talk to God.
Seoul, South Korea
Early morning in Seoul. The sunlight was starting to flash across the windows of the high-rise towers of the city, causing the panes of glass to look as if they were mirrors of fire.
In his hotel room on the city’s outskirts, a few blocks from the huge Junggye Gospel Church, a North Korean national, Han Suk Yong, was getting dressed. Soon he would climb into his rented car and drive to a service at the church. He was breathing faster. His heartbeat had quickened, he could tell. He would have to control it. He had to look and act natural, collected, if he was going to accomplish the single passionate plan that burned within like a flame. By the time the church service ended, he hoped to have fired several bullets into the man he hated.
Han knew his target would be heavily protected. He had cased the church the night before and noticed the security staff setting up metal detectors in the lobby, at each entrance to the ten-thousand-seat sanctuary. The main speaker was controversial, and the church was not taking any chances. But Han anticipated that. During his time with the North Korean military, he had worked with a team that specialized in advanced small-arms weaponry. When he had slipped covertly across the border the week before, he had brought a sample with him.
The newly developed .45-caliber lignostone handgun was perfect for the job. A super-compressed wood product, lignostone was as strong as steel but much lighter. More important, it could pass through metal detectors. Russia and their Arab allies had used the material for many of its weapons in the recent ill-fated invasion against Israel. The lightweight material had avoided radar detection, and the newly designed Russian trucks, Jeeps, and tanks constructed from it would have been effective had it not been for the frightful forces of nature that seemed to revolt against the military assault.
But Han told himself that his plan was different. He was a skilled assassin against a single high-profile target. And no one, he told himself, had a more powerful reason to kill.
After straightening his tie, Han assembled his lignostone gun and inserted the clip full of bullets made of the same material. He put it in his suit-coat pocket, packed his suitcase, and carried it to his car in the parking lot. Before turning the ignition, he sat behind the wheel for a moment. He pulled out a photograph and stared at it. He saluted the North Korean officer in the picture, gave a quick bow, and put it back in his pocket. Then he reached over to the passenger seat where he had a printout of a Seoul online city newspaper. He lifted the front page to his eyes, reviewing the photograph, just under the headline, which showed the man who was scheduled to be the main speaker at the Junggye Gospel Church. The target of his rage. Han studied the smiling face of the man who would soon be dead.
The gunman glanced once more at the headline —
“Joshua Jordan to Speak at Seoul Church.”
Every seat was filled as the thunderous applause echoed through the mammoth sanctuary. On the dais behind the pulpit the church’s pastor, Lee Ko-po, was smiling broadly and nodding. Next to him was Jin Ho Kim, one of South Korea’s hottest professional pitchers. Earlier that day he had pitched a no-hitter with his blazing fastball and led his Nexen Heroes in a 5-0 victory over the Han Wha Eagles. The baseball player seated behind the podium had his eyes glued on the speaker in front of him.
At the lectern, against the backdrop of a fifty-foot stained-glass cross on the wall behind him, Joshua Jordan was trying to finish his message, but the crowd kept interrupting him with wild applause. This was not just because he was the man whose engineering genius had saved New York City from a North Korean missile attack three years earlier — or because in so doing he handed South Korea’s communist enemy to the north its most humiliating defeat to date. It had more to do with the fact that Joshua was connecting powerfully with the audience by articulating a timeless message that went beyond geopolitics or national security or even their most basic hopes about good or their fears about evil.
What Joshua was Speaking about was God’s master plan and the future of every member of the human race.
When the crowd quieted down, Joshua continued. “Long before I started my defense-contracting business, I had been in the United States Air Force. And I chose that life for a specific reason — because I wanted to protect my country. I was honored to achieve the rank of colonel and to fly some of the most exciting missions a pilot could ever hope for. When I retired from the service, I started my defense company so I could work with the Pentagon and continue that mission — once again to protect America. While it turned out that my anti-missile invention was the right answer to the greatest airborne risks that faced America — it proved to be popular with the wrong kind of people … Some bad folks wanted their hands on my design, and the next thing I knew they had me in their clutches and I was taken by force to Iran. I was locked in a jail cell as a hostage, and as you know, they did some rough things to me there. But frankly, it made me appreciate the courage of other brave men who have endured much, much worse. On the other hand, there’s nothing like being tortured, totally alone, in a totalitarian state, thousands of miles from home to make you feel utterly helpless. Yet all of that taught me something. Yes, I believe in a nation’s right to defend itself. But in the final analysis, it is the living God who is our ultimate protection. We can trust in Him. In Psalm 125 we read this:
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people
Both now and forevermore.
Joshua closed his Bible, which his wife, Abigail, had given to him two years before, the last time they had actually been together face-to-face. It was during their clandestine reunion on board a ship off the coast of New York, anchored on the very edge of American borders and the beginning point of international waters. Given the legal spider web that had ensnared the couple, and the outrageous and unfounded criminal charges lodged against Joshua, it was the only way they could meet. Now, on the platform of the church in South Korea, he reached out and touched the brown leather cover. Joshua longed to put his arms around the woman who had given it to him. For a moment he felt a tightening in his throat. But he steadied himself. He couldn’t afford to think of that right now. So he looked over the sea of faces and moved to his final comment.
“When Israel was attacked two years ago by an advancing wave of Russian and Arab League armies of overwhelming strength, military leaders gave Israel little chance of victory. But the miraculous rescue of that nation was the fulfillment of a promise God had made thousands of years ago. You can read it for yourself in chapters 38 and 39 of the book of Ezekiel. So, what is the message? First, we see over and over in those verses from Ezekiel, God is telling us through His chosen prophet exactly why He could rescue Israel in such a stunning display. He says: ‘So that the nations may know me …’ to prove that He is truly the Lord.
“But there is something else, a
As Joshua moved away from the podium the crowd leaped to its feet, clapping and cheering in a roar of praise and amens and hallelujahs. Then Pastor Lee, waving his hands to the sky, led the congregation in a hymn, followed by a closing prayer of benediction.
At the other end of the mammoth church, Ethan March, Joshua’s tall, muscular young personal assistant, had been watching from a side entrance. Ethan’s job, ever-changing it seemed, was to coordinate security that day and keep the media under control. There had been a request for a formal press conference, but at the last minute Ethan had nixed the idea, and Joshua reluctantly deferred to his assistant. But Ethan knew that some in the media would still try to grab a comment or two from Joshua as he exited the church. Ethan scanned the thousands of attendees who were starting to disperse. He eyed the two security guards stationed in each aisle, each with a wireless radio. One by one they delivered their messages to Ethan, and he bent his head slightly to the side and covered his other ear with his finger, so he could listen in his earpiece to their security check.
“All clear.” “All clear.”
Ethan felt himself unwind. The service was over. No incident. No threats to disarm. He knew Joshua was still the target of several hostile nation-states — some, like North Korea, partly out of a desire for payback against Joshua for engineering their missile failure and the destruction of one of their naval military vessels with all hands on deck. Other nations simply wanted to get inside Joshua’s head and learn what he knew about his own RTS weapon design. Any one of them could have slipped their agents into a crowd like this. But now it looked like the risk to Joshua was over.
Being a part-time bodyguard, part-time scheduler, and full-time personal manager for Joshua Jordan was a job that Ethan, a former Air Force pilot like his boss, had never trained for. How could he? His job was just as improbable as the way that their lives had intersected. As Ethan watched the crowd slowly wind its way to the exits he thought about how, having once served under Joshua’s command at an air base, they had been brought together again years later. This time through a chance meeting on a plane with Joshua’s daughter, Deborah. Sure, there was some heartbreak, the way things ended between Ethan and Deborah. But it did bring Ethan face-to-face again with a man he had admired like few others. Joshua had his own take on that, saying that the two pilots had been brought together “by divine providence.”
Brink of Chaos by Tim LaHaye / Thrillers & Crime / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes