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Chapter 1

The Outcry For a Savior of the World

       Imagine something incredible happening on the world stage. You’re about to turn off the TV, go get a soda and retire to the computer to play some online poker or a video-game, or just cruise the Internet. But an announcer comes on the TV.

       “We have breaking news in Lebanon where a civil war has been raging for more than a week. We go to Jason Friedman on scene in Beirut.”    

       Jason comes on. “Scott, this is incredible. The anti-government forces have decimated the Parliament building, killed a group of lawmakers and the president. It’s raw carnage.  And then this person appeared out of nowhere. He started shouting, ‘Stop!’ in Lebanese.  He stooped down by a body like he meant to raise it from the dead or something. For a second, everything went quiet. Then when he simply stood up and waved a peace symbol with his hand, they started blasting away again. At him.
       “It was astonishing to watch. This man dressed in a blue suit simply walked right through the fusillade, unscatched. I don’t know whether the opposition forces were just poor aims, or whether something else was going on. Regardless, this person stalked up to the podium in the remaining section of Parliament and quietly talked into the microphone like some kind of prophet. Another silence, and then suddenly, all the combatants threw down their weapons. He ended the whole confrontation. No one knows who he is yet, but I’m trying to find out. More later.” 

       You sit there transfixed. What’s going on? It’s like the assassination of JRK, the explosion of the Challenger, 9/11. In a few minutes, the news stations bleed with news about this on every channel.

       The next hour, Jason comes back on.  “Gunmen were everywhere screaming, ‘Fire! Hot’ Some say this Lebanese person did something to ignite their weapons. How that’s possible, I don’t know, maybe he had some kind of infrared weapon he shot out at them or a laser. But no one saw anything.” 

       Jason corners a couple of shooters, asks them what happened. A translator gives the translation: “My AK-47, it turned red. Burning. Fire. Very hot. I dropped it.” The gunman pointed to the man at the podium. “The devil! He is the devil!” 

       Your eyes and everyone else’s are on the man standing before the crowd. He calms them, the translation showing him speaking soothing, consoling words like some nurse sitting by a dying man and gripping his hand. Stuff like, “Look at what you’re doing with your lives. Stop, think! You can yet recover this. Turnaround and enter the joy of your heritage.” 

       For a moment, you consider this might be Jesus come back in the flesh. 

       Meanwhile, on TV, all the weapons are discarded. The terrorists sit like schoolchildren before this man. No more bullets are fired. Everyone looks polite, as if this man gave a motivational lecture on how to succeed in business by really trying.

       At first, CNN says it was a fluke or that he scared them. But then the same person appears later on TV at a Lebanese station and manages to persuade everyone to sit down and work through their complaints. Over the next few days, you learn Lebanon wants him to assume the presidency. There’s only one problem: he’s part Jewish, part Christian, and part Muslim. They find that out right away through some other people who step forward as spokesmen. Suddenly, it’s as if everyone realizes this may be the solution to the problems in Lebanon and maybe the whole Middle East. This person knows how to deal with all these religious factions, and everyone just seems to trust him. 

       Up close now, before the cameras, he’s very striking, skin not too dark, but not too light either, a shock of black hair combed back, a bit of stubble, loosened tie and white shirt. The sleeves are rolled up. He looks like some Hollywood star spinning off at a news conference about his latest project, but his words calm people, rivet, enthrall.

       You’re ready after seeing all this through a week to stand up and cheer. A true leader has arisen!

       Finally, CNN gets the prime interview. Beneath the lights, this man looks confident, assured, in charge. They now know his name and few things about him. He’s a native of Lebanon, been working in politics for several years, connected with some U.N. organizations fighting for peace. He has no family left, though. They were all killed in the previous years of steady violence. No wife. No family. He’s forty-two years old. An engineer, but also with degrees in literature, languages, and world history from various Beirut universities.

       Finally they get to the main point: “What did you do to the weapons, to the opposition fighters to calm them so quickly?”

       He responds, in perfect English, “I just talked to the fighters, made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.” 

       Ah, you know that line. The Godfather. Is that what he is: a godfather? 

       The interviewer presses, “But the weapons? What happened?” 

       “I think it would be wiser to ask them.” 

       “We did. There were differing answers.” 

       He smiles this great, genuine, embracing smile. “As always, getting to the truth is supremely difficult. So many opinions. So many stories.” 

       The reporter nods. “What do you want then? Why have you stepped forward now?”  

       “I have come to mend the things that were broken,” he says solemnly. Very serious. “To bind up the things that have been maimed and mangled.” 

       He answers all the questions with strange rejoinders. To, “But did you do something to their weapons?” 

       “I have done nothing but correct a bad situation.” 

       “But they said the weapons had become fiery hot.” 

       “Perhaps from too much shooting. A gun gets that way, you know, with much firing.” 

       “No, this was different. Who is your family? What is your name?” 

       He smiles again, reminding some of Reagan’s way of cocking his head and grinning offhandedly. “My name is inconsequential, as you already know. I am no one. I am everyone. I am just a person. I am what I am. No more. No less.” 

       “You speak in circles.” 

       “As do most Americans. But I am speaking plainly, and you will understand what I speak in time. He who has ears to listen to what I say, will understand in due time.” 

       He walks away then, no bodyguards, no entourage. He plans to speak at the U.N. in a few days. In a couple of weeks, Lebanon plans to hold elections and they want him to run for president. Some factions are calling him, “Miracle Man.”

       What would you say if such things happened in your time? “Just some crazy things going on in another country. You can never trust those reporters.” “It’s a fluke. He’ll be gone in a month.”  “Some excitement. That was nice. Now back to the grind.” 

       Perhaps you wouldn’t even notice much more. But I want to assert right now: something like this event, undoubtedly very different, different circumstances and so on, but something so incredible the world will sit up and take notice.

       And this event will change everything.   


       Take a hard look at the world, and what do you see? If you have eyes like me, you see a shambles.

       With earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, mudslides, forest fires, food shortages, and plagues, you would think that would be enough. But dictators wage genocide with impunity right now in many countries of the world including Darfur, Somalia, North Korea, China, and other nations. Former Vice-President Al Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," about the imminent effects of global warming, has frightened many the world over and motivated the Nobel Peace Prize committee to give him the big prize so many world leaders covet.

       Meanwhile, the Chinese and Indian economies grow at a manic pace and some say they will soon become the same kind of economic superpowers as the European Union, Japan, and the United States. Illegal immigrants stream to the U.S., land of the “American Dream,” but no one seems to have any idea what to do about it. Send them home, or send them to work? Let them stay and let them vote, or make them second-class citizens? Environmentalists achieve even greater influence and others fight back with the “facts”, leaving many confused about what the truth is.

       What is happening? Why is this happening? In many ways, it appears that a tremendous confrontation of world governments, economies, and military powers looks imminent. Is there any way to survive? 

       Christian theology repeatedly warns of a coming period of "Great Tribulation" which will virtually destroy the world as we know it. Persecution of many religious groups rages even in the U.S. It's nation against nation, community against community, and neighbor against neighbor everywhere you turn. Nuclear threats abound. Certain nations and peoples hunger to "wipe Israel off the planet," to say nothing of the same sentiments toward United States, Europe, and other nations.

       Can anyone save us from such disasters? Can anyone prevent them from happening in the first place?


       Where is there any real hope?

       The longing for a leader who can “save us” from impending global warming, economic and nuclear disaster grows stronger every day. 

       So what if someone appeared on the world scene like the person I started this chapter with? Would you be intrigued? Would you be drawn in, especially if he was as strong on quoting the Bible as the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, Confucious, Moses, and L. Ron Hubbard? If he seemed able to embrace all and pull us into a unity and harmony never seen before in history? If he told us that all these “ways” were seeking someone like him, and now he’s here, and what are you going to do about it? 

       What if I told you at the start that this person would well be in tune with God’s plan? That God literally sent him for a specific purpose and that he alone could fulfill that purpose in our time, in our eyes?  Would you consider that this person could be the awaited Messiah? 

       On the other hand, what if I said this person could be the part of God’s plan where he gives total evil total power over the world? And that getting sucked in will mean hell to pay for you personally, and anyone else who follows? 

       Could it happen? Would God do such a thing?