Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour (1 John 2:18 ESV).
We created sin. We often create our own demons, antichrists, and downfalls. Just like the kingdom of heaven is not coming but is already here, so one may argue that the end times are not coming but are already upon us. We can either live in fear and create our own end, or we can choose to spread the messages of love, salvation, and hope durring these times.
Each soul is a spark thrown out into a dark world. We can choose to either light the world ablaze with fear and hatred or with hope and love.
The following parable was written by Joshua Noel and Mark Zweigart, as part five of five in a parable series, called "The Mark".
At the local hospital, in the town like any other, The Pastor’s Son sat next to his only real friend, The Beast. The Beast had been in the hospital for a few days now, in and out of consciousness. His current state caused the townspeople much fury, prompting them to seek those whom they wished to blame. The Pastor’s Son had not left his friend’s side in quite some time. The nurse, that had been caring for The Beast entered the room to tend to him for the evening.
The Pastor’s Son addressed the nurse to ask why the people had left. Saddened, she told him that the townspeople all seemed to be going towards the church on the hill, going on about “The Whore” and “The Antichrist”. The nurse then continued by inquiring if “The Whore” they were talking about was his sister; The Pastor’s Son responded only with a silent nod. She sympathetically told him that The Beast would understand if he went to his sister in this time, and so with a last glance at his friend, The Pastor’s son ran off towards the church.
The townspeople arrived at the church and quickly made the assumption that The Foster Child and David had been sleeping together while in hiding. The Whore, their dear Foster Child, had been fornicating in their beloved house of worship and thus defiling their sacred place of worship, or so the townspeople thought. In reality, David would never be involved with her in such a way before marriage, so the two had been sleeping separately in the church basement.
As the townspeople’s’ fury ignited, the sheriff led the defiant crowd; the adolescents were undeniably figures of the apocalypse, and with this certainty the people realized what they had to do—raze the church to the ground.
Surrounding the building, the angry mob set their beacon alight, trapping the young couple inside.
The Refugee had witnessed this heinous act and rushed into the church to help his friends, who were about to be killed in the very place where they had sought refuge. He knew of a back exit from the church—having often slipped out of services when his ethnicity or religious preferences were questioned at past church functions—but, by the time he had found his way through the crowd, into the church, and to his friends, the fire had spread and gnawed at the ceilings of the sanctuary.
Taking his friends by the hands, The Refugee attempted to lead them out of the church, when a beam broke under duress from the flames and landed on The Foster Child. David and The Refugee continuously tried to remove the beam in vain and desperation, until David collapsed under the stress of the beam and heat of the flames. The Foster Child begged The Refugee to get David out first, then return for her; even in her agony, she recognized the devotion of David’s heart and the purity of his soul.
Respecting her wishes, The Refugee began to drag David out, David begged him to stop and save her instead. Eventually David gave up and simply asked The Refugee why he came for them at all. The Refugee grinned through the flames, carrying his friend on his back, and replied, “never shall we attain to true piety unless we spend on others out of what we cherish ourselves; and whatever we spend – truly, God has full knowledge thereof.” As the last words of his friend entered his mind, David succumbed to the smoke. The Refugee placed David gently on the ground right outside of the church building before rushing back in for The Foster Child.
The Pastor’s Son pushed his way to the front of the crowd, as the beacon on the hill shone out for the last time before collapsing in on itself. The screams of the two witnesses echoed out through the flames for all to hear. In agony and death, both The Foster Child and The Refugee shouted out a noise like the screams from hell, itself. Hearing this, the Pastor’s Son fell to the ground. He had once loved The Foster Child, before his father adopted her. This love is what started his hatred for David; that hate was the first spark that started the fury burning in the hearts of the townspeople on this day. That spark started all of this and this was the first moment The Pastor’s Son had first realized this.
The sparks from the collapse descended from the smoke and filled the sky like a fiery rain showering those close to the embers of the church. It was these sparks born from fury and absolute hatred that met with David, searing his skin and clothes, and igniting the hair on his scalp, leaving only one spot unblemished – the spot with the mark of three concentric spirals on his forehead. The burns roused him and he screamed in an agony matched only by the Pastor’s Son’s. He leapt from the charred and hallowed ground and flew down the hill.
Hearing his screams, the townspeople ran to the other side of what was once the house of God. Seeing the monstrosity that had once been the beloved son of the town caused those in the mob to stop. Their deeds started to ring in their ears, but was replaced willingly by the call from the sheriff to rid the world once and for all of the Antichrist. They had seen him die and rise again, now looking just like the monster that they thought he was. With their hatred renewed and their will restored, they followed their leader.
David sprinted into his house, grabbing his clothes, and took note of his sleeping father. As he left through the window he spared him a final thought of love and turned from his house to leave the town. But the people did not see him slip out the window, and with blind rage they set the house ablaze. They began burning one building at a time to ensure the Antichrist could not hide. But he was not hiding, he saw his house and father consumed by fire, and thus the last light within him was extinguished.
During this madness, The Pastor’s Son had come to fully realize what he had caused with his one action against David a couple months back. With this revelation, the conviction of the Pastor’s Son caused him to also flee the town, with nothing but the clothes on his back and determination born of guilt and knowing.
The town like any other was surrounded by mountains, and so David rose from the town like the smoke up the mountains; The Pastor’s Son would go down the side of the mountain escaping through the valley of the shadow of the town, the shadow of death. As the sun began to rise David looked back down on the town or the smouldering crater of what had once been his town. His friend’s final words branded in him, searing his soul until a hatred sparked within him. All memories of things good and pure died with those who had been part of his heart.
David would leave the town to go spread the hate that he had learned to all other towns like it; likewise, The Pastor’s Son will go on to spread the convictions that he learned to other surrounding towns.
Once more, I ask you dear readers,
Can you see the kingdom of heaven in this story?