Chapter Twenty-three: Supernatural salvations
Jeff carried Sandy into the open air as dust settled behind them, inhaling the powdery debris that tasted like chalk and coughing it up with effort. The ground was vibrating slightly, and a low rumbling noise filled the air, but soon stopped.
"I was starting to wonder if we were going to make it," Valerie said.
Jeff took a deep breath to clear his lungs. He hadn't been outside for a week, and the fresh air felt good. God must have discontinued the scorching heat judgment, as it was comfortably warm, sunny, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. "We're OK. Except for Sandy." Jeff gently placed her on the ground.
Sandy grimaced as she looked at the torn flesh of her calves.
"What are we going to do, Jeff?" Valerie asked. "I don't know where to find a doctor."
Jeff didn't know either. As a pharmacist, he'd had some medical training, but had never taken care of bullet wounds before. Suddenly, he thought he heard a voice. "What? Did you hear that?" Everybody stared at Jeff as if he was a bit daft. "Did you hear a voice?"
"What voice?" Nick asked.
Jeff cleared his throat and stood up. "Sandy, the Lord just told me to tell you to heal yourself in His name."
Sandy seemed to forget the pain momentarily, as she looked up at Jeff. She had seen God do many miracles over the years, but Jeff could understand why she was a bit shocked. "You're kidding."
"No. Do it. You'll see."
Sandy paused for a few seconds, then shrugged her shoulders. "In the name of Jesus, I speak healing to my leg. Wounds be gone!" At first, nothing seemed to happen. Then new flesh started to cover the bullet holes, bumpy at first, but soon smoothed out to become like new. Sandy raised her left eyebrow. "I've never been able to do that before."
Jeff said, "The Lord just told me from now on you will have this gift of healing."
"What can I do?" Nick asked.
Jeff said, "You will find out when the time comes. For now we should do as he asks."
"What's that?" Valerie asked.
"He wants us to go north to Edmonton, Canada to preach."
"Why Canada?"Nick asked.
"I haven't the foggiest idea, and I don't care. It's not important to know why, but it is important to obey." Jeff turned to look at his son. "Nick. This is your chance. Take us to Canada."
Nick frowned with confusion. "How? We don't have a car."
"Not that way. Call for your angelic transport to take us there. That's one of your gifts."
Nick requested their transportation in the name of the Lord, and as he finished speaking, all five of them rose from the ground as if they were standing in an invisible helicopter. They flew through the air, seemingly faster than the speed of sound, yet Jeff couldn't feel any G forces or wind. Within minutes they gingerly landed in the middle of Jasper Avenue, Edmonton's downtown district.
The Royal Bank building had a big hole in the front, an entrance through which undoubtedly thieves had gained access to electronic credit transfer machines. The streets were calm but had signs of battle, such as gaping holes or smaller bullet-type holes in various buildings, dead bodies lying around, and all cars were either stripped, turned upside down, or black charred hunks of metal. To the west, the Paramount theater was boarded up with metal plating; a neon sign above showed a naked woman and said X-rated movies only. They probably had done a booming business at one time, but now it was empty.
"It's deserted," Valerie said.
Jeff peered up and down the street. "No. They're in the buildings, hiding like frightened mice. I suggest we simply sit in the center of the street and eat a big meal. The hungry people will eventually come out of hiding."
"I'm sure you realize we have no food," Valerie said. "What did you have in mind?"
Jeff was glad to see Valerie had the faith to believe God would do something. "You will supply the food."
Valerie nodded her head in understanding. "Lord, in Your name I ask for physical sustenance. Please give us turkey, potatoes, vegetables, gravy, and bread."
The food appeared along with a table and five chairs.
They sat down and began eating, casually, as if the streets were their usual dining surroundings. Before long, the delectable aromas dragged a man out of hiding, mouth hanging open and visibly salivating. The man walked to within five yards of Jeff before he raised his right hand, revealing a semi-automatic pistol. He pulled the trigger repeatedly, but the gun might as well have been loaded with blanks, for it didn't do one iota of harm to its intended targets.
"My friend," Jeff said, "you do not need to kill us, for we will gladly share our food with you. We have an abundance of bread. And while we eat, we can share with you the living bread from heaven, Jesus Christ."
The man looked at his gun with confusion and anger. He was frothing at the mouth and grunting. He paused for several seconds before rushing at Jeff, hands grabbing for Jeff's throat and gnashing his teeth.
"Back!" Jeff commanded, and the man was flung several yards in the opposite direction, landing on his back, moaning and sobbing.
Jeff went over and touched him on the shoulder. His right leg was twisted backwards, seemingly broken in two places. "The power of Satan will no longer bind you. Stand up and talk." The man convulsed slightly, vomited, and stood up, leg instantly straightening, and speaking intelligently.
"How did you do that?" he asked. "I haven't been able to speak for years."
"I didn't do anything. The Lord Jesus Christ delivered you as a sign of His power. He now desires to fill you with Himself if you will invite Him into your life."
"Most definitely!" the man said. Right then, Jeff explained the way of salvation; the man kneeled on the ground and sobbed when he understood what Jesus had done for him on the cross. He immediately gave his life to the Lord and sat down to eat with them.
Soon, thousands came crawling out of the buildings, perhaps encouraged by the first man's positive results, perhaps desiring to kill them. Jeff wasn't sure which. They moved slowly, like wolves circling in for the kill. Most were in a similar state as the first man, unable to speak and acting like ignorant cavemen, a manifestation of evil that seemed to predominate in this city. When they got closer, Jeff could definitely see their intentions were not friendly. They carried knives, clubs, guns, stones--anything which might inflict bodily damage.
God told Jeff the people's minds were so controlled that before Jeff could witness to them He would have to free them. So, Jeff and his family walked up and down the streets, commanding in authoritative voices, "In the name of Jesus, demons be gone!" The people would wail, collapse to the ground, and get up, shaking their heads in confusion.
"How did you do that?" one of the men asked.
"We didn't do anything," Jeff said. "It was the power of God!" They continued until a crowd of bewildered men, women, and children stood around, not knowing what to expect.
Next, Valerie requested food. Instantly, the entire street was flooded with chairs, one long table, upon which was every conceivable type of food, more than enough for everyone. The people ate to their satisfaction while Jeff levitated into the air and hovered over them. His voice was louder than a bullhorn as he boldly proclaimed, "The way of salvation is through Christ!" He could be heard all the way up and down the street.
When he had finished, Jeff only had to ask once for those to gather around him who wanted to repent of their sins and receive the gift of eternal life the Lord had bought for them by His blood. Multitudes came forward so fast it looked like an attack. Only a few hardhearted individuals refused, going away to presumably become possessed again.
"It's time to go to Northtown mall," Jeff said.
Nick raised an eyebrow in surprise but said, "You're the boss." He called for their supernatural transportation.
As they started to rise from the ground a man called out, "Please don't leave us. What are we to do now?"
Jeff motioned for Nick to stop temporarily. "Stay close to the Lord and spread this new life He has given you. Use your gifts and talents to His glory. Tell everyone you meet about God, and direct them to wait at any of the malls in the city. We will appear at each one repeatedly to tell the story of the Savior and give them a chance to receive eternal life."
Jeff nodded to Nick and they continued on their way. When they arrived at Northtown, at Sandy's request, they hovered above the sign which advertised the mall's name. Sandy said she'd received a word from God.
Jeff silently rejoiced that God was talking to the others as well.
Sandy waved her hands and sang joyfully to God. Soon, many lights appeared in the sky, dancing to the melody of the beautiful sounds which could be heard.
People flocked to the center of the display, the spot where they were hovering. Jeff preached God's Word and boldly proclaimed the way of salvation. "All who want to receive life, come forth!" he said as he pointed and beams of light leapt from his finger tips to heal the sick. Meanwhile, Valerie prayed and every type of delectable food floated from heaven.
Virtually everyone came forward when Jeff invited them to commit their lives to the Lord. Afterwards, instinctively, the new believers joyfully sang a song of thanksgiving. But some in the crowd started shooting at the new Christians. Jeff quickly asked God what to do and received an answer.
"Halt and be dead!" he shouted, and instantly everyone who'd tried to do harm collapsed. Even in the face of death, the new Christians hadn't stopped their singing, and now they continued in manifestly deeper reverence.
From Northtown, they next headed to Southgate Mall.
The fame of Jesus' name was spreading throughout the city like a whirlwind. They glided through the air slowly this time because many who'd become Christians at Jasper and Northtown followed them, magnetically adding thousands to the already huge ensemble. Motor transportation was tough to find, but they came on bikes or ran if necessary.
As the young believers followed, they shouted, "Come and see what God will do for you!" One man commanded a demon to come out of a young boy, and it obeyed. This encouraged others to exercise their gifts, starting a whole avalanche of miracles. Jeff was glad people realized they could do such things. All it took was faith. But in Jeff's opinion, to the lost, their enthusiasm was a bigger drawing factor than the miracles. Nobody had seen happy faces in years. Every demon oppressed person, with God's help, was able to come, despite obvious inner inclinations to the contrary evidenced by the strained resistance on their faces.
The crowd grew like a snowball enlarging as it rolled down a snowy mountain top. By the time they reached Southgate, thousands filled the mall's parking lots, adjacent streets, and residential areas. The crowd reached several blocks to the south, past Harry Ainlay High School, and north as far as Lendrum Shopping Center.
Jeff floated above the massive expanse of faces and preached the gospel. Jeff couldn't be sure, but it seemed as though everyone responded to the invitation to receive Jesus.
When they were done, Nick flew his family to West Edmonton Mall, crowd growing rapidly during the slow flight down Whitemud freeway. The mall was huge, fortunate since Jeff needed a large space to accommodate everybody.
People jammed into every available space in the upper and lower parking lots of the monolithic mall. Many more flooded the streets. In all his experiences, Jeff had never seen such positive responses; he felt elated, drunk by the Spirit of God, as he preached, intermittently commanding demons to leave bodies, while his family floated about feeding the hungry and healing the sick. As a further sign, Jeff shook the earth and caused lightning to flash across the sky.
A small band of enraged individuals, fully possessed and unreachable, raised their guns and shot at Jeff, but the bullets became as blanks. They turned their guns on the crowd, but again, no injury came to their intended victims. Then they threw hand grenades, but in midair, the mini-bombs simply disappeared. Jeff was only mildly annoyed, and ordered the would-be assassins to go away. They obeyed. Without any further resistance, Jeff asked if anyone wanted to know God, and the sounds of many voices shouted an affirmative.
After he had introduced the crowd to the Lord, he said, "We must go now! Please do not follow us. You are too many. Instead, have people wait at the malls, or go into the streets and do for others as we have done for you. You can wield the same power we do."
Jeff indicated he was ready, and Nick called for angelic transportation. "Where to, dad?" Nick asked.
"Millwoods Town Center." This time, they moved through the air quickly, as they didn't have to wait for a crowd. As they approached the east side of the city, a large mass of people created a visible landmark of their destination. As previously, response to the invitation to repent and receive Jesus got an overwhelmingly positive response. People flocked to the door of the Kingdom in droves.
When another band of fully integrated humans started shooting the new believers, Jeff was about to call down fire from heaven. But the Lord said, No!
"What?" Jeff said, bewildered. He listened with sadness as he heard the Lord say that He wanted to glorify His name by having the new believers die for Him willingly. As they fell by the thousands, they didn't panic or try to flee, and their lips carried a beautiful song of hope for a better world. They had wide smiles in those last moments, totally sure of where they were going.
It was difficult for Jeff to watch Satan unjustly kill God's people, even though he understood their eternal destinies were secure. But in a way, he was jealous. They got to go to their eternal homes in heaven.
When his family asked him questions he said, "I don't understand why God allows what He does sometimes. But I know we should obey nevertheless."
After they had visited every site, they started over again, beginning with Northtown Mall. Even though Jeff got tired at times, the needs of the lost were too great to ignore. He pushed himself, living on a minimum of sleep, family following his example, until they had evangelized the entire city.
Next, God sent them to Leduc, a smaller city south of Edmonton. They flew over Calgary Trail which turned into highway two and led out to their destination. Jeff only saw one car during the entire five minute flight. Once there, they hovered in front of the Safeway food store, while Sandy did another light display. By now, Jeff was getting used to the awesome power his group was exhibiting.
"Gather around!" he yelled as thousands came to hear. His voice was supernaturally amplified, as if a loudspeaker was positioned at every street corner.
"The time to repent is now!" Fire flew from Jeff's fingertips and the earth shook. A few near the front fainted. "The Lord Jesus will be coming back soon. You must be ready for Him or this is all you'll receive!" This time every member of Jeff's family stretched out their hands and a canopy of fire spread out over the town like a large umbrella before disappearing.
"Do not be led by Satan anymore. It is time to turn to Him before it is too late." Jeff made the day become night and then the night become day again. He commanded cars to float through the air like toys he was playing with.
Several men ran up to Jeff. They were drooling and their eyes were black blobs. One snarled and leapt into the air, trying to grab Jeff's foot, which was several feet above him.
"This is an example of Satan's best to defeat God," Jeff said as he pointed below. "It is as if he grasps impotently at the foot of the Almighty." That comment enraged the men and they climbed onto each others' backs to make a human ladder to reach him.
"God can remove the demons from your life as easily as I remove these buffoons!" Jeff swept his hand through the air and a miniature tornado appeared, grabbed the group of malcontents, and carried them away.
The crowd started to recede, a mixture of fear and faith in their possessed eyes. A part of them loved what he was saying, agreed with it, and desired to respond. Yet, another part held back. He knew Nick and Valerie fully understood the pain and turmoil his listeners were going through, and motioned them forward to speak. There were tears in Nick's eyes and Valerie was openly sobbing. Although they had seen much spiritual enslavement, they hadn't gotten used to it.
"I know what you're going through," Valerie said as she started to relate her own story. When she was finished, Nick explained how he'd listened to a message like the one they were hearing but refused to respond. He begged them not to do the same.
Jeff spoke of God's love and the plan of redemption, while Sandy and his family walked out over the crowd, healing the sick and miraculously feeding the hungry. Unlike Edmonton, God told Jeff to call the people to faith first before He would free them.
"Come forth," Jeff said. "You have enough control of your mental faculties to make a decision. Yes or No. God wants to free you and fill you with Himself."
Almost half the crowd came forward, better than he'd expected, since God had told him to expect less outside the city. Jeff didn't worry about why that would be. His job was only to obey and leave the results to Him.
"What?" he suddenly said to himself quietly. "No. Not again. Please Lord." But there could be no mistaking the command. It was the hardest thing he'd had to accept in Edmonton, letting new converts' deaths glorify Him. Jeff understood, but barely, how a trusting, non-bitter, joyful Christian death glorified God before all the angels in heaven, but he still had a tough time with it. It was especially difficult to realize he had the power to do something about it, but mustn't.
Jeff thought of Peter in the garden of Gethsemane, cutting off a person's ear when they had come to arrest Jesus. The Lord had said He could call the angels to rescue Him if He wanted, but wouldn't because He had to do His Father's will, which was for Him to die. He also thought of the Scriptures which say consider it pure joy when you're persecuted or killed for God's sake because your reward will be great in heaven. Jeff clenched his jaw and got on with it.
Jeff invited his listeners to come to God. He looked behind at those who refused, standing stiffly with guns in hand, restrained until the proper time. As soon as he had finished the lead prayer, the new Christians manifested supernatural experiences. Some fell to the ground and started speaking in tongues. Others started prophesying, singing, praising, dancing--all were smiling. Then it happened. Jeff had to dig his nails into the palms of his hands to keep from lashing out.
Satan's followers started shooting the new converts. Jeff did nothing. Sandy and the others ran to his side.
"You've got to do something, Jeff," Valerie protested. "You can't let them die. Call down lightning or something."
"Why?" Sandy asked before Valerie could.
Jeff sighed. This was going to be difficult to explain; he'd tried before, but hadn't quite gotten through to them. He barely understood himself. "God loves them. When they die, they will go to heaven. You should be happy for them. I don't understand why God allows evil to succeed sometimes. All I know is we should trust Him anyway. That glorifies Him. Perhaps God wants to take them home because He misses them."
More shots rang out.
"These people are not afraid to die," Jeff continued. "Their trust in Him to the point of death glorifies Him. Look. They all have smiles on their faces. They are at the peak of their joy, ready to meet their God. In a way, I envy them. They will go to heaven now. They don't even have an ounce of revenge or fear on their faces."
When it was all over, not a single Christian was standing, except for Jeff's family. The Lord still had work for them to do.
Despite his confident explanations, Jeff almost relished in the next command from God--kill the rest however he wanted to. The new converts might not want revenge, but a part of Jeff did. However, he knew God would right all wrongs in the end. Vengeance was God's. In the final judgment after death, everyone would get what they deserved. So, he refrained from any evil intent, and simply executed them efficiently with fire from heaven. Now the whole town was dead. Everyone had been a believer or an unbeliever, one group shot, the other incinerated.
It almost seemed futile. He wondered why he should work so hard if God was just going to let them die quickly anyway. But the Lord reminded Jeff that they were with Him now, and he felt a little jealous again. Jeff was tired and desired to go to heaven too. It would be refreshing to rest after all his labor. No, it hadn't been a waste of time. Their souls had been saved. Now it was time to move on.
God directed Jeff next to every town in Edmonton's surrounding area, starting with Devon and Calmar. The combined efforts of every mission group in Lawrence's Complex could never been as successful as Jeff's group now. Jeff could remember days when they'd not be able to convince a single person to trust in Jesus. He was almost tempted to criticize the preachers who'd preceded him, but God reminded Jeff that He hadn't poured out His Spirit so massively ever before.
Over the next few months, God expanded Jeff's ministry in concentric circles. They covered greater and greater areas, expanding across provincial boundaries, and didn't stop until they'd overlapped with other mission groups. Now God told Jeff that his work was finished and it was time for his own family's deaths to glorify Him.
Jeff didn't think he was going to like what he was about to hear.