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Author: Jimmy Root, Jr.
Title: Distant Thunder
Publisher: American Book Publishers
Genre: Prophetic Fiction Thriller
The unthinkable has happened. Iranian terrorists are poised to strike the United States and Israel with tactical nuclear weapons. How will the world respond? More importantly, how will a sleepy suburban Church in America respond?
Ty Dempsey is a young American pastor who finds himself in a trial of grief after the loss of his younger brother to the war in Iraq. During his darkest hours, God brings to life a series of passages in the Bible that Ty had always considered allegorical in nature. They aren’t. With a strong sense of urgency that the message must be preached to his congregation, Ty dares to go beyond anything he has ever done before. Most of his people are intrigued, but others begin to stir trouble. The result is a church conflict that threatens to destroy his ministry. His only reprieve is found in a budding romance with talented and beautiful singer, Blake Sieler.
Meanwhile, Moshe Eldan is an Israeli F-16 “Lightning” pilot who is faithfully doing his duty to protect his increasingly beleaguered nation. But things have gotten more complicated than normal. Beyond the fact that Hizbollah fighters are administering their cyclical rocket attacks across the border of Lebanon, neighbor nations are beginning to act provocatively, even after a Palestinian State has been formed. Worse, his wife confronts him with a startling prophecy from the Bible that seems to be coming true ten thousand feet beneath his wings. Never one to be anything other than a secular Jew, Moshe is forced into a journey toward faith. Then, his Lightning jet is shot down by a Russian Mig 29, and things get suddenly complicated.
Strangely, these two men, from totally different backgrounds and cultures are connected in ways that can only be orchestrated by God. This fast plausible, paced thriller never stops moving, and the end will be shocking.
Tel-Abib, Babylon 568 B.C.
The old man kicked at a clump of dried grass, while he wiped away the sweat that was burning his eyes. Just standing in this heat weakened his spindly legs, and a scorching wind seared his lungs. It was the season when relentless summer winds sucked the life out of just about everything in this “Heart of Babylon,” greatest of all kingdoms, center of the universe.
“Bah,” spat Ezekiel, the crusty old prophet. “There is only one King who will lay claim, and it is not Nebuchadnezzar!”
He wasn’t concerned about his words falling on the ears of a stray Chaldean; he was already known by most as a lunatic. In reality, only a handful of his own people actually listened to him. Mostly, he was mocked as a babbling fool, and that only sharpened his frustration.
He was meandering along the eastern bank of the Chebar Canal, alone with his tortured thoughts and nagging regrets. So many hopes and dreams had been piled up like refuse in a trash heap, sometimes he wondered if there was any point in continuing what seemed to be a fruitless ministry. Worse, Ezekiel knew he was nearing his last breath. The reality that he would not see his beloved Jerusalem again weighed heavily upon him.
Stolen away from his homeland by the King of Babylon some thirty years earlier, the prophet had nearly forgotten the beauty and blessings of Judah. Only images remained. Some were pleasant ponderings; others were memories of shattered possibilities. But most glaring were the remembrances of a greater invasion of wickedness that had consumed his people.
He’d cried out fervently while still in Israel, trying to awaken the people to the abomination of it all. Few listened. Wretchedness had been unleashed upon the people, and it came from the iniquities of the people themselves. No matter how passionately he’d challenged the depravity, there seemed to be no power behind his words. None of his pronouncements carried the necessary weight to bring about change. His desire to call upon the conscience of his nation was simply not enough. So, with the heaviness that accompanied a sense of failure, Ezekiel had left prophetic utterance to the prophets, to the few who claimed to have the power.
It wasn’t until he’d settled in the hovel called Tel-abib, situated beside this dirty river, that he first began to feel an odd stirring in his belly. Strangely, it signaled the arrival of a power that would energize his words. It was also when his dreams began to turn dark. He was shown things he, to this day, could not comprehend.
His visions were so horrifyingly real that he’d developed a tremor in his hands, and a slight twitch had become noticeable under his eye. Whenever he shared the dreams and visions, the quaking and twitching became so prominent that people would either discount him as sick or denounce him as a fool. But the inner stirring only intensified until it became a raging storm.
He lifted his head and looked toward a setting sun smeared by distant dust-filled winds. Slowly, his thoughts turned to his once lovely Jerusalem, and it made him mourn. Worse, his wild visions concerned that once great city. Over the last few weeks his waking dreams had disturbed him so much that he’d hardly been able to stomach his food.
Whenever the trance fell, a huge valley would be stretched before him, a valley filled with nothing but dust, dry bones and armor. It was a place of defeat and death, where all flesh had been picked clean by vultures and jackals. Some great battle had been waged and an army had met complete annihilation.
With each repetition of the vision, the prophet would end up puzzled and confused. But the last few times, something different had happened. What seemed to have been a messenger from the Almighty had appeared beside him. The figure was beyond comprehension, yet exuding a sorrowful compassion for the lost people lying before him.
“What do you see, son of man? Describe it to me,” the bronze-hued, light shrouded being commanded.
Ezekiel’s knees were banging together like drums being played at a wedding feast. “I see bones, nothing but bones. Bones separated from one another and piled high. Swords, helms, bucklers, and shields,” Ezekiel answered weakly.
“Can these bones live again?” the being asked. “Can there be life in place of death?”
Ezekiel strained his eyes out over the valley looking for any sign of a survivor, any life at all. Not even a bird remained to pick at the bones. Everything was desolate. With a shrug and a sigh, he let the question stand for a moment. How does one give answer to such a majestic being, when words fall short of holiness and are shrouded in trepidation?
“You know, my Lord, you know,” was the prophet’s feeble reply.
“I tell you, son of man, these bones will live again.”
Suddenly, a swirling wind blew outward from the messenger and passed down the entire length of the valley. It was accompanied by bursts of lightning as it rolled forward in raw, creative power.
A clicking sound could be heard, something far beyond Ezekiel’s knocking knees. It was the sickly pop of bone reconnecting with bone. He looked toward the nearest pile of death and gasped as a soldier was swiftly reassembled, then another. He witnessed a torrent of bones flying as if they were looking for the correct skeleton to connect to. Then, sinew and tendon began to form in joints and spread rapidly over each body. Flesh appeared. Clothing followed it.
Armor flew into place on one lone soldier nearby. The new man took his place among the hundreds of companies who were being formed across the entire valley. Then, silence. The army was standing, living, breathing, and ready to march to war. Sweat poured down Ezekiel’s face as he turned to the messenger.
“I tell you, that which was dead will come to life. My wayward people were crushed under my discipline, but they shall be restored. Jacob shall live again, and my servant David shall be king. I will make a covenant of peace with them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the whole world will see my sanctuary standing in their company forever.” Then the man was gone.
It was the same nearly every night for the last moon cycle. Ezekiel grunted as he thought of how he was getting to the point where he could repeat the words with each night’s visitation.
However, this last part of the vision needed a bit more consideration before he shared it. The people were already raising their eyebrows, no need to confirm his lunacy just yet.
Suddenly, the prophet felt himself driven to his knees by the weight of a massive hand. He was pushed mercilessly downward until his sunburned forehead touched the parched earth he’d been kicking moments before. Then a voice said,
“Son of man, set your face to the north, to Gog of the land of Magog, to the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him…”
Jimmy Root Jr., has served as an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God since 1982, including service in Nebraska, Missouri, and a seven year term as a missionary in Colombia, South America. Jimmy is the lead Pastor of Family Worship Center of Smithville, a growing suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. Married to his wife Jean for twenty-nine years, the Roots have three grown children.
Root is a 1981 alumnus of Central Bible College of Springfield, Missouri where he majored in Biblical Studies and Pastoral Theology. He is also an alumnus of Southeastern University, Lakeland Florida, where he majored in Intercultural Studies.
A lifetime student of Biblical prophecy, Jimmy is also the Professor of Eschatology, The Study of End Times, for Berean University through the Northern Missouri District School of Ministry. He is a featured speaker at Churches and other venues, and is the host of “The Bible Uncensored” radio broadcast heard on radio stations around the country.
His writings, both in book form as well as his blog, are purposed to be a wake-up call to a sleepy American church that seems to be losing a truly Christian World View. Distant Thunder and its sequels, A Gathering Storm and Then Comes Lightning, will reveal to the adventure/thriller aficionado the reality of the coming fulfillment of Biblically prophesied events. You can visit his website at www.lightningchronicles.com or his blog at www.prophecyalert.blogspot.com. Connect with him on twitter at www.twitter.com/JimmyRootJr and Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimmyrootjr.