Read Empire's End Online

Authors: Jerry Jenkins,James S. MacDonald

Empire's End

Praise for
Empire's End

“As a former newspaperman and one of America's most respected biographers, Jenkins has the know-how to assimilate massive amounts of data about the life of the apostle Paul. However, as a best-selling novelist, he also knows how to unpack this information and turn it into a fast-paced, highly entertaining story. We readers get to enjoy this double bonus.”

Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, Chairman, Department of
Professional Writing, Taylor University

“Once again Jerry Jenkins's amazing imagination and literary skills captured my interest, and I found
Empire's End
pure intrigue! The relational surprises were fascinating, but more importantly I was blessed spiritually with Jerry's unusual ability to weave relevant passages from Paul's subsequent letters into what may have been God's personal messages to him during his three years in the Arabian desert!”

Dr. Gene A. Getz, Pastor, Professor, Author

“The best writers don't explain history or spin tales, they show us our own hearts. This is what Jerry Jenkins has done in
Empire's End
.”

Chris Fabry, Award-Winning Novelist & Host,
Chris Fabry Live
, Moody Radio Network

“Jerry Jenkins takes biblical records and historical data to weave a fascinating story about the apostle Paul. The intrigue, danger, and mysterious romance in
Empire's End
will keep you turning the pages and leave a ‘wow' in your heart. Be entertained and inspired.”

Sammy Tippit, Author and International Evangelist, San Antonio

“When Jerry Jenkins crafts a novel, he makes every word count. Our senses are engaged and our hearts beat faster as the story moves at breakneck pace. In
Empire's End
, we find all that and more. The apostle Paul lives and breathes on each page, and the God who calls him on the road to Damascus clearly speaks to us as well. Biblical truth and storytelling excellence make this a wonderful read.”

Liz Curtis Higgs,
New York Times
Best-Selling Author of
Mine Is the Night

“Built upon good knowledge of both what the New Testament says and what it does not say, Jenkins enhances Luke's history with his own masterful storytelling skills while still restraining imagination by theological respect.”

Wallace Alcorn, Ph.D., Biblical Scholar and Author

“The divine revelation poured into the apostle Paul would help launch a movement that would change the world.
Empire's End
brilliantly tells the powerful, supernatural yet very human story as Jerry Jenkins imagines a journey through Paul's extraordinary calling and early ministry life. I couldn't put it down, and highly recommend it!”

Ray Bentley, Senior Pastor,
Maranatha Chapel, San Diego

EMPIRE'S
END

EMPIRE'S
END

A NOVEL OF THE APOSTLE PAUL

JERRY B. JENKINS

WITH
J
AMES
S. M
AC
D
ONALD

Copyright © 2015 by Jerry B. Jenkins and James S. MacDonald

Published by Worthy Books, an imprint of Worthy Publishing Group, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., One Franklin Park, 6100 Tower Circle, Suite 210, Franklin, TN 37067.

WORTHY is a registered trademark of Worthy Media, Inc.

H
ELPING PEOPLE EXPERIENCE THE HEART OF
G
OD

eBook available wherever digital books are sold.

__________________________________________

Library of Congress Control Number: 2015937636
__________________________________________

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Scripture quotations marked
NKJV
are taken from the New King James Version
®
. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For foreign and subsidiary rights, contact
[email protected]

ISBN: 978-1-61795-007-0 (trade paper)

Cover Design: Brand Navigation
Cover photography: Parthenon Image—Getty Images, Street and Trees Image—iStock, Sky Image—iStock, Parchment Overlay Texture—Dreamstime
Digital Illustration: Mike Chiaravalle

Printed in the United States of America

15 16 17 18 19 RRD 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

To Trisha White Priebe
with thanks

CONTENTS

Preamble

Part One: Called

1.   Terror

2.   Narrow Escape

3.   The First Miracle

4.   Still Small Voice

5.   The Presence of the Divine

6.   Revelation

7.   Truth

Part Two: Set Aside

8.   Love

9.   The Discovery

10. The Vision

11. Assigned

12. The Horror

Part Three: Sent

13. Setting Off

14. The Cypriot

15. Joseph

16. Recognized

17. The Watchman

18. The Brother

19. Flight

20. The Slave

21. Freedom

22. The Ache

23. Becalmed

24. Shunned

Postscript

Acknowledgments

PREAMBLE

A
FTER HAVING DISTANCED HIMSELF
from the execution of Jesus, Roman Prefect of Judea Pontius Pilate further alienated Jerusalem's Jewish leaders by failing to maintain the protocols of his predecessors.

Those before him had deferred to the sensitivities of the Sanhedrin by not allowing Roman troops to enter the capitol city bearing the ensigns and effigies of Caesar. Pilate allowed them in under the cover of darkness, which only infuriated the citizenry the next day. Then he assigned mounted troops to surround the protesters and threaten them, backing down only when they expressed willingness to die before accepting such a desecration of Mosaic Law.

Later Pilate installed gold-plated shields outside Jerusalem's Herod's Palace, so antagonizing the Jews that when he refused to remove them—claiming they were meant only to honor Emperor Tiberius—the people appealed directly to the emperor himself. Tiberius, apparently sensing the shields were meant to annoy rather than to honor, forced Pilate to move them to the great Mediterranean port city of Caesarea, where the prefect's administrative offices were housed.

The next time Pilate addressed the Jews on an unpopular topic, he infiltrated the crowd with soldiers incognito. When the protest arose, he
signaled his troops to randomly attack and kill several to keep them from appealing to Tiberius.

Eventually Prefect Pilate learned of a contingent of Samaritans planning to visit Mount Gerizim to view holy artifacts they believed had been buried by Moses himself. To draw attention away from himself, Pilate left Jerusalem for Caesarea and summoned the most ruthless military leader under his charge, General Decimus Calidius Balbus, to his administrative headquarters.

The prefect had never seen General Balbus dressed other than for battle, armed, and ready to strike. When Pilate pointed to a chair, Balbus told him he preferred to stand.

“Do you ever smile, General?”

“When something amuses me.”

“And when was the last time?”

The general squinted, a hint of crow's-feet appearing around eyes matching the color of his short gray hair. “During our last campaign one of my men delivered to me the severed head of a woman who reminded me of my wife. That made me smile. At least the wench has borne me no children.”

Pilate roared. “I wish I could say the same of mine! Yet you keep her. Why?”

“Maybe I
will
sit, Prefect.”

“Please.”

“I keep mine for the same reason you keep yours.”

Pilate studied him. “Ambition. You seek higher office. There's that smile. You seek
my
office!”

“I don't deny it.”

“And why should you? You're right that a divorce would hinder you.
But I won't hinder you. It's no secret I seek Vitellius' chair myself, so my own may soon be vacant.”

General Balbus nodded. “I can see you as governor of Syria. But you didn't call me here to tell me that.”

“True enough.” Pilate told him of the planned Samaritan foray to Mount Gerizim.

The general shook his head. “Why can't they just exercise their superstitions where we allow them—in the temple where they belong?”

“Precisely.”

He tilted his scabbard and crossed his legs. “Well, they'll have to go through Tirathana, that village at the base of the mount. Just tell me where you got your information and the result you desire. I'll have some scouts infiltrate, determine how many are going and when, decide how many troops to take with me, and it will be done.”

“Do what you have to do to keep them from the mountain, and bring me the leaders. I will reward you with a private home right here in Caesarea, and you will be my handpicked successor when the time of my ascension comes.”

General Decimus Calidius Balbus led a heavily armed infantry and cavalry that easily overwhelmed the large contingent of Samaritans. He and his men killed several in the village before they got near the mountain, captured the leaders, and chased off the rest. Pontius Pilate made good on his promise of a private house in Caesarea for the general, then had the Samaritan leaders executed without trials.

In short order, Roman Syrian Governor Lucius Vitellius deposed
Pilate and ordered him to Rome to answer to the emperor for his actions, but by the time he arrived, Tiberius had died and Caligula had succeeded him.

To General Balbus' abject disappointment, Vitellius appointed his friend Marcellus as prefect to replace Pilate. But then Marcellus stayed largely in Caesarea and looked the other way when the Jerusalem Sanhedrin stoned to death a zealous follower of The Way named Stephen. Carrying out a punishment to the point of execution was something the Sanhedrin was not to do without the permission of Rome—even if the guilty party had been a devotee of the crucified Galilean the Jews considered a blaspheming false messiah. So suddenly Marcellus was out, and Balbus believed his time had come.

When the governor invited the general to his Caesarean office, Balbus was so convinced of his good fortune that he dressed not for battle but for pageantry and even deigned to have his despised wife accompany him as a masquerade of domestic harmony.

By the time he and his driver and aide-de-camp set out from his new home for the meeting, Caesarea was alive with rumors that the emperor himself was in the city. When the streets leading to the administrative offices proved impossible to navigate, General Balbus knew it was true. Had the emperor sailed all this way just to see him installed as prefect of Judea?

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