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NIGHT OF THE TRANSITION


TRANSITION

He stunned me with the announcement: “Now I wish to unveil to your very eyes the heart of the Gospel, the most ignored and hidden mystery of the  Return, the Evangel’s best kept secret. Anyone who has access to this knowledge already has one foot in the sacred threshold of paradise, his heart ready for that one spark to set it ablaze with the sublime vision of the Rapture.” 

I began to shake like a leaf on a tempestuous night. 

It is December 1999—on the eve of a brave new millennium—and against the backdrop of shifting geography, history and religion, one determined pilgrim, in the company of over a thousand other intoxicated lovers of Jesus, is on a long arduous journey, from the coastal regions of West Africa across the shimmering sands of the Sahara to the edge of the Holy Land to witness the Rapture of Christ on that unforgettable Night of the Transition.   

By the author of Gatekeepers: The Quest for Clues to an Age-Old Riddle, this religious fiction offers alternative, refreshing and thought-provoking insights into the great issues of the Bible—issues that have confounded countless generations of believers—such as the creation story, proof of the existence of God, Satan, the virgin birth, miracles, the Trinity, heaven and hell, the Second Coming, the    Resurrection, the Judgment, and the end of the world.   

In Store Price: $29.00 
Online Price:   $28.00



AMAZON

ISBN: 978-1-921919-60-2   Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 286
Genre:
Fiction/Religious

EBOOKS
Buy as an Ebook version - $AUD9.00 upload
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Author: Kobina Amissah Fynn
Imprint: Poseidon
Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published:  2012
Language: English

Other books by Kobina Amissah Fynn

Gatekeepers: The Quest for Clues to an Age-Old Riddle (Poseidon Books)

Set in a small coastal village in Ghana, the book explores the coming of the Messiah of the end times from the perspective of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Zoroastrian and Buddhist traditions and prophecies.

You can preview Gatekeepers here.


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NIGHT OF THE TRANSITION  

The Background: During much of the twentieth century, great was the expectancy the world over that at last the long-awaited return of Jesus Christ was soon to occur. Many modern-day self-ordained prophets confidently issued forecasts of when that glorious Day would be, only for disillusionment to set in each time the date arrived. As the century wore towards its close with no sign of Christ, so did the gaze of a distracted world shift to the turn of the approaching millennium as the most likely occasion for the Return to take place. But while AD 2000 did come and go, the Rapture did not materialize. Why? Or did it? 

You are about to join one millenarian as he sets out on an intriguing journey of discovery…  



READ A SAMPLE:

I. Saints on the Move 

 

Hundreds of white-clad members of the Perpetual Shrine of the Holy Angels were on the move—on a move that was unprecedented in the history of millenarianism in Africa and, if Shrine-Master Francis Krikri was to be believed, was even unprecedented in the history of religion in the entire world! They were on the move to rendezvous with their Saviour, Jesus Christ, on His long-awaited return to earth—a return which according to the Shrine-Master would be realized on the “Night of the Transition”.

This was none other than the night on which the year 1999 would first embrace and then part ways with an extraordinary new year—the year 2000 AD—at an instant so unique, so the Shrine-Master had forecast, it would herald the consummation of all history.

But where were those white-clad members headed for? Where else but for Israel, the Holy Land, the Promised Land, focal centre of the dramatic events that were to rock and agitate the entire world!

And did they have visas to enter the land of Israel? No, but who cared for a visa on a night like this when the foundations of the world would violently shake and crumble, and national borders would count for nothing in the face of the majesty of the Son of Man after He had flooded the world with dazzling light and all-subduing power!

But why that particular night of all nights? Shrine-Master Francis Krikri had regularly preached to his congregation that all prophecies pointed conclusively to the year 2000—“the inception of the Third Millennium”—as the year when the world would end; and the Night of the Transition was the most auspicious, indeed the only “possible” night for the Return to take place and “the Rapture” to occur.     

To buttress his argument, he had informed his congregation that even the worldwide scientific community had been swept over by a strange fear of this particular night. A loophole that had been detected in computer software programmes had led to the conclusion that at the exact millisecond of switchover from 1999 to the year 2000, computers the world over would instantaneously be infected by a highly malicious “Millennium Bug” disease, otherwise known as “Y2K”; that come the moment of transition from 31 December 1999 to 1 January 2000, all hell would break loose on earth! Millions of computers would crash and spontaneously ignite, leaving homes and office buildings ablaze from one location to the next. Electrical power stations, from east to west and from north to south, would instantly cease working at best or implode at worst resulting in blackouts in cities and towns on all continents; aeroplanes would drop unexpectedly from the sky, factories blow apart in mid-production. Mobile phones would be transformed into electronic firecrackers—and confusion, bewilderment and panic would suffuse all parts of the globe!

“This negative world outlook,” the Shrine-Master had further prefigured, “will just be a drop in the ocean of things to come; for—make no mistake!—the outbreak of Y2K will synchronize with the commencement of the Rapture, the result being that tribulations upon tribulations will be visited upon the earth in wave after terrifying wave.”

Even the name that had been given to what was after all a computer software problem, he argued further, was, unbeknown to the scientists themselves, inspired by the Rapture to come. He expanded “Y2K” to “Yesu Second Kristo”—“Yesu Kristo” being the vernacular version of “Jesus Christ”—and the same abbreviation, he emphasized, could mean: “Year of the Second [K]Coming”!

“Hence, make no mistake, what that simple Y2K abbreviation really stands for,” so the Shrine-Master had, with characteristic gusto, pontificated to his congregation, “is ‘The Second Coming of Jesus’.”

In strident tone, he assured everyone that waves of inspired pilgrims would spontaneously depart from all corners of the globe to converge in Israel on that blessed day. All that was expected of a humble believer in Jesus was to have just one of his feet on the soil of Israel to be saved!

Planning for this night had begun a full year in advance. All members of the Perpetual Shrine of the Holy Angels had been obliged to deposit a minimum of ¢4m (four million cedis) of one-way travel money (equivalent to some US$1,200) with the Shrine-Master for safekeeping as a condition for participating in the pilgrimage. All their other assets were to be handed over to him—those in kind to be sold, the monetary proceeds accruing from the sale to be added to the assets in cash—to be widely distributed to the poor and needy of the land. According to the Shrine-Master, such a deeply benevolent and charitable exercise, carried out in the name of the contributors, was the only visa each devoted member of the congregation needed for acceptance into the divine Kingdom. In support of this he would quote Matthew 25:34-40 of the Authorized King James Bible—the shrine’s preferred English version of the Holy Bible—and follow it up with the vernacular translation:

 

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me… Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

 

And the congregation would respond with an exuberant “Amen!” and clap approvingly.

The journey to Israel was to be done by road, for, as the Shrine-Master had rightly pointed out, that was the only way to ensure that the poorer members of the congregation were able to participate fully with everyone else in the divine enterprise; but he added that travelling by road would have other hidden benefits as well which would become apparent as the trip progressed.

Wednesday, 1 December 1999, was the start of this extraordinary pilgrimage. Shrine-Deputy Paul Kweku Kumi was to head this large concourse of pilgrims. The Shrine-Master would remain in Accra with the other Shrine-Deputy, Robert Nii Ashong, to pray for the success of the undertaking; to oversee the distribution, to the poor and needy, of the pilgrims’ remaining worldly possessions that had been given up to the shrine; and the Shrine-Master and his Deputy would then fly to Cairo to link up with the pilgrims before the Night of the Transition and, almost certainly, before the crossing into Israel. The pilgrims were expected to arrive in Cairo by Christmas at the latest—to rest, to pray, before heading for the Egyptian-Israeli border by 30 December in readiness for the biggest night the world had ever witnessed!

So it was that I found myself in the company of the Lord’s “elect”, the “saints” of the Last Day, who were headed for the Promised Land to meet with destiny and receive the crown of acceptance from the Lord Himself. We the pilgrims were all members of the Perpetual Shrine of the Holy Angels, but some illegal economic migrants on a clandestine mission to Europe—“hustlers”, as we called them—had made common cause with our journey through North Africa, their intention being to cross the Mediterranean from there, and smuggle themselves into Europe.  

It was at dawn on Wednesday, 1 December 1999, when I Ebow Mensah, in the company of other members of the shrine, boarded a State Transport bus from Accra, in the south of the country, to Bolgatanga in the far north. Because of our numbers, we could not all travel in the same vehicle. Many travelled by other means, and others joined us in Bolgatanga from Bekwai, Bibiani, Cape Coast, Ejura, Elmina, Gyankama, Ho, Koforidua, Kumasi, Navrongo, Noskoliga, Salaga, Saltpond, Sunyani, the twin cities of Sekondi-Takoradi, Tamale, Tarkwa, Tumu, Wa, Wenchi, and from many other towns and villages around the country. From Bolgatanga we continued to Paga, a small town on the border with Burkina Faso, famed for its crocodile pond. This was the assembling point for the launch of our mission. The instruction, secretly given at short notice, was for each of us to quietly sneak out of our homes on 1 December, to arrive in Paga no later than the morning of Friday, 3 December. That day, in the late afternoon, the roll-call was taken of all participants. There were 1,036 millenarian pilgrims, and 23 others were noted as being on “other” missions, bringing the total number to 1,059 persons, made up of babies, children, youths, adults and the aged, spanning all generations and almost equally split between the sexes. After the roll-call, the Shrine-Deputy took a number of the pilgrims aside for discussions, but it was not clear to me why.

As for those on “other” missions, these were the hustlers. It was Shrine-Deputy Kumi who allowed them to travel with us, subject to availability of space, after they showed up uninvited at the venue in Paga. No funds were demanded of them, as far as I could tell, apart from their transport fares; but they were asked to assist with security matters and with other unspecified duties which might come our way, especially those things which we, the born-again Christian men, might be unable or unwilling to tackle head-on. Indeed, Shrine-Deputy Kumi was overheard saying that he did not see anything wrong with having a few additional “able-bodied youthful men” around us, “just in case”. We pilgrims were forbidden to call back home whilst on the trip, or indeed to even attempt to communicate with anyone outside of our immediate surroundings. While they could not be bound by this ruling, the hustlers were told to be circumspect about communicating anyway and if they found it absolutely necessary to send a message back home, they were on no account to make any references to the pilgrims, either individually or collectively.

We had arrived in Paga during the harmattan season and the winds in this part of the country were, as expected, harsh and unforgiving. These harmattan winds, blowing seasonally from the Sahara to the west coast of Africa, usually between November and March each year, were so hot and dry they instantly evaporated every touch of moisture on the body, leaving the skin completely dry but with a sensation of coolness. In fact, by the time we reached Paga, our dark skins had already turned the colour of white chalk from dryness, and our lips and the soles of our feet were beginning to crack—so uncompromising were the winds. Our only protection was to liberally smear our bodies with shea butter—especially our lips, nostrils, and not forgetting the soles of our feet.

Despite the discomfort from the atrocious conditions, the start of the pilgrimage left me very excited and deeply emotional. Here were the elect from Ghana, gathered in Paga at such an auspicious moment in time, to begin a pilgrimage that would see us straight into heaven. Absolutely fantastic! Many a spare moment would my mind fantasize about heaven. Heaven, what a delightful and enchanting place to be—the abode of God, in the company of Jesus and the angels, with good food, good music, lots of laughter and happiness… no sickness, nor pain, nor weariness, nor death!

But there were times when, like a yo-yo, my emotions would swing from one state to the next, and back again. One instant, just thinking of heaven would send a thrill down my spine and my whole being would blaze with ecstatic joy. Moments later, when my thoughts became fixated on what was coming and its implication for the whole world, my heart would miss a beat, and I would be seized with trepidation and fear—fear of the unknown, fear borne out of my sense of unworthiness. This feeling would linger on until I fell down on my knees and prayed for strength, for assurance, for forgiveness of my many grievous sins and to be worthy of acceptance into the Kingdom on that great Day.

And then I would find myself fantasizing again about heaven and the feeling of exhilaration would return, flooding my veins and members with a tingling sensation of sheer bliss... Oh, sweet heaven!

 

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