I ended my last article with these words: His remark triggered something, which had come to me some years ago, of which I had never spoke to any one. I simply had no reason to do so. It was part of those things, which just sits in the mind of any of us, without our attaching much importance to it, which turns out to be more significant than we may realize. My response to his remark was unplanned, unexpected, and spontaneous. (Sometime later I wondered to what extent was this simply a fortuitous event; that which happens by a fortunate accident or chance, or was it deeper. We’ll explore this later.)
To his blushing remark I simply commented that his age was important with me. I did not know that this would immediately open up what it did. He immediately unnerved me when his countenance suddenly be came very stern and serious. He looked sharply at me. I did not know what I had said that caused this sudden change in him. As he sat down he again shot a serious glance at me. He asked me what did I see in his age. I said I knew there were connections between his age, at certain points in his life, and certain prophecies.
He continued looking at me with the same expression when he asked me to give him an example. I mentioned the ninth chapter of Daniel. He said, “Get my Bible.” It was behind him on the T.V. I recall the thought which jetted through my mind about the fact of his Bible being there and the fact that I did not ever recall seeing any of his Bibles downstairs, as opposed to up in his bedroom or in his office. As I picked it up I noticed that it was the King James Version. He asked me to turn to the ninth chapter of Daniel. I did. He said, “Read it.” As my eyes looked at the twenty fourth verse, I noticed that there were little “Xs” besides each of the last four verses of that chapter, which were verses 24 through 27.
I read aloud from the book of Daniel, beginning in 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Verse 25)
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (Verse 26) And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off … .”
At this point he stopped me with these words: “How do you see the cut off Brother?” I said that from all I had learned from him and from the scriptures I knew that this referred to him but that this did not mean death for him. I said it meant that he would go to be with Master Fard Muhammad.
At this his stern expression softened. While looking directly at me he said these words to me “This is the most critical part of scripture with me Brother.”
He paused, and leaned back in his chair. Then he asked me this question, “Where do you think I am going to go and when?” It would be years before I would think of the momentous significance of his question. Meanwhile, because of a lesson I learned some years before, I wrote my answers on the paper napkin.
To the question of “where” I wrote six stopping off places on the way to his ultimate destination. There was a seventh stop off place in my mind, which I did not mention to him until January 1970, in his home in Chicago.
To the “when” part of his question I wrote “Between December 1970 and January 1971.”
He got up and walked to my side, cupped his hands over one of my ears and blew gently. He said this was the way that Master Fard Muhammad told him to do when you wanted to say something to an other and did not want it to get out into the air where others could pick it up.
He then sat down and said to my answer to his “where” question, “That’s a pretty good answer, Brother, for Allah keeps His options open.” And to the “when” part of my response he said Brother, you got it pretty near correct.”
Then there was a long pause before he said these words, with what was to me, great deliberation, “If Allah had not shown me how I was going to escape, I would have no hope.”
These words were again followed by a long pause. He then said, “I could tell you Brother, how it is going to happen–(this time his pause was shorter)–with a slight turn of his head) but it is not necessary.”
I thought two things. I don’t know which thought came first. They were: Since I won’t have anything to do with his escape I didn’t want to know. The other idea was that maybe he was expressing confidence in me that I wasn’t going to go anywhere after he departed. In any case what I thought made no difference.
I’m just trying to tell the whole of what was said, on this occasion, to put his “when and where” question in perspective. By no means did I know what went on in his mind, which he did not tell. Well, after a few more points, he dismissed me. I went back to painting his office.
On the morning of October 12, 1994, I heard a news report on NPR Morning Edition titled, Apocalyptic Cults Flourish as the 2000 Moves Closer.
Here is the transcript of it in full.
“BOB EDWARDS, Host: This is Morning Edition. I’m Bob Edwards. Police in Switzerland are unraveling the mystery of the deaths last week of more that 50 members of a charismatic religious cult in Switzerland and in Canada. Yesterday, police said they identified one of the bodies as being Camille Peilet financial officer of the Order of the Solar Tradition. On Monday, authorities identified the group’s spiritual leader, Joseph Di Mambro, among the bodies. That leaves Di Mambro’s associate, Luc Jouret, still at large.
“It’s unclear which cult members committed suicide and which were murdered. The nature of the Order of Solar Tradition is still a mystery as well, but, experts say it probably was in the apocalyptic tradition, that its core belief was that the world was coming to an end. Experts also say such beliefs will flourish as we approach the year 2000, NPR’s Lynn Neary reports.
“LYNN NEARY, Reporter: Scholars disagree about what happened in the Christian world at the end of the first millennium, but, there are some dramatic stories about peasants burning their crops because they believed the world was about to end. The Bible never said the apocalypse would come in the year 1000; in fact, the Bible says no one should even try to predict the end of the world.
More next issue, Allah willing.