They arrive in Jerusalem. Buck is in his hotel room. Apparently he is nervous, fearful that he is being watched and that the Antichrist might be on to him because when he hears a knock on his door, he looks through the peep hole before letting Rayford in. They put Rayford's disk into the laptop to look up Ben-Judah's speech. (For some reason Buck highlights it, as if he wants to edit it).
Then they get to Ben-Judah's reading of purported messianic prophecies. **Eye roll.** Fred Clark criticized the authors of Left Behind for their cut-and-paste approach to biblical prophecy, but the authors of Left Behind are in good company. The Gospels are full of exactly the same cut-and-paste approach, taking a little bit of the Hebrew Bible here and a clip there, completely disconnecting them from their context. and plunking them down in the middle of the Gospel as prophecies that Jesus is the Messiah. No one reading the Old Testament without such preconceptions would reach anything like the interpretations found in the Gospel. That included, say, any Jew interpreting what the Bible says about the Messiah.
"The Messiah will be pierced without breaking a bone," Buck reads, followed by an explanation of how this applies to Nicolae. Okay, I think everyone knows what that refers to. But let's take a few steps back to see if it makes any sense at all for a non-Christian. First of all, out of the four Gospels, it appears only in John. Mark, Matthew and Luke all agree that Jesus was crucified and expired much sooner would normally be expected, by none of them mention either piercing or breaking bones. Matthew and Luke, as well as John, also say that two bandits were crucified along with him. (Mark does not mention them). All four Gospels agree that Jesus was crucified on a Friday. John, and only *John, says that the Jewish authorities did not want men on crosses on the Sabbath, especially during Passover and asked the Romans to finish them off. This was done by breaking their legs, to that they could no longer push upward and would quickly suffocate. Finding that Jesus had already expired, the Romans did not break his legs, but did pierce him with a spear. John says that this was in fulfillment of the prophecies, "A bone of him shall not be broken," and "They shall look upon him whom they pierced."
Tracing these prophecies, we see the no bones broken refers to Exodus 12:46, giving instructions on how to prepare the Passover lamb, saying "Thou shalt not carry forth aught of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof." Numbers 9:12 has similar instructions about not leaving any of the Passover lamb until morning, or breaking any of its bones. Presumably this means you are not to eat the marrow. Of course, Christians say the Passover lamb is merely a symbol of Jesus, but a non-Christian would not think that so obvious. Finally, Psalms 34:20. A general hymn of praise it says, "(19) Many are the afflictions of the righteous, bu the LORD delivereth him out of them all. (20) He keepeth all his bones, not one of them is broken."
As for the piercing, that comes from Zechariah 12:10. Chapter 12 is a general prediction that Jerusalem shall be besieged and suffer greatly but ultimately be delivered. Verse 10 says,
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication, and they shall look upon me (sic) whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
I can see here how a Christian would identify mourning one's only son and God apparently being the one pierced with Jesus as God and the Son of God. But once again, this passage would merely be confusing to a non-Christian. There is nothing here that says it refers to the Messiah, much less the preparation of a Passover lamb. The Bible is a big book, written over centuries. There is no reason, none whatever, for a Jew to regard these passages, in different books, describing unrelated events, and never once mentioning an Anointed (Messiah) as describing a single event that will characterize the Messiah.
Next Buck quotes that the Messiah will travel to Egypt as a child. This one comes from Matthew and only Matthew. According to Matthew, Herod the Great, hearing the Messiah had been born in Bethlehem, ordered every boy under two in Bethlehem to be slaughtered, but Joseph was warned of the impending massacre in a dream and fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus. First of all, there is no mention of such a massacre anywhere except in Matthew, including Luke, which simply says that Mary and Joseph dedicated Jesus in the temple and then went home to Nazareth. One would think such an atrocity would be recorded somewhere. Second the Flight into Egypt (it is customarily capitalized) is supposedly in fulfillment of the prophecy, "Out of Egypt have I called my son." This is a conveniently clipped quote from Hosea 11:1, "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt." Okay, so the "son" is clearly the people of Israel, and the calling out of Egypt refers to the events of Exodus. Once again, there is no reason whatever for a Jew to link this to the Messiah.
Anyhow, to get back to the story, Buck realizes that Ben-Judah is about to proclaim Nicolae the Messiah, and that that was Nicolae's true motive in bringing Buck to Israel. Rayford asks, then if the speech is Ben-Judah's, why did Nicolae thank Steve Plank for writing it. They realize that Ben-Judah was going to proclaim Jesus the Messiah, but they changed the speech to proclaim Nicolae instead. This means that Ben-Judah is under Nicolae's power. Um, I don't get it. Clearly being a saved RTC protects you from Nicolae's mind control powers. So if Ben-Judah has figured out that Jesus is the Messiah, doesn't that make him a born again RTC who should be protected? Neither Buck nor Ray (nor the makers of the movie) seem to think of that. Instead, Buck proposes to break Nicolae's power by taking Ben-Judah to the Wailing Wall to meet the Witnesses. Rayford, less heroic, is skeptical.
Incidentally, Fred Clark comments, and I agree, that this is the right way to do the Tribulation Force. They can't stop Nicolae from taking over the world, which is predestined, or interfere with prophecied events. But they can get the Word out and save souls, and they can affect events not covered by prophecy. Ben-Judah proclaiming Nicolae as the Messiah is not prophecied, so they can hope to get him to proclaim Jesus the Messiah instead and carry the message to a huge audience. The only trouble with this plan is that it seems likely to blow their cover and get them executed. Granted, it will be martyrdom in a good cause and they will get their 72 virgins in Heaven, but it will also be the end of the series.
The next scene is in the lobby of a large office building, presumably GNN's Jerusalem headquarters. Buck meets with Steve Plank, asks to speak to the two guys at the Wailing Wall, saying he hopes to discredit them. Steve says no, the Wailing Wall is off limits, the best way to defeat those guys is to deny them attention. He is also clearly under Nicolae's power, saying that Nicolae has everyone's best interests in mind and wants to unify the world, not divide it. Unity is clearly a bad word for RTC's. Fred also notes that, once again, Buck is lying without compunction to the Antichrist (or his agent, anyhow). So much for the book's elaborate scruples on the subject. After all, if lying bothers you, you probably shouldn't be a double agent.
Meanwhile, back at the church, it is once again doubling as a medical center. Okay, we know the patients aren't in the sanctuary because that still gets used as a sanctuary. We know they aren't in Pastor Bruce's office because he needs the peace and quite to study prophecies and hold Tribulation Force meetings. I can only assume it's in Reverend Billings' office, since he doesn't need it anymore. The burn victim who appeared to be dying is still alive, but badly burned and bandaged. Chloe is reading from the Bible to him. He is familiar. Either he is a believer (then why wasn't he raptured?) or a recent convert. Fred comments that while before she lost her nerve and couldn't face the badly burned man, now that she is together with Buck, she can. He sees that as sexist -- men are saved by Jesus Christ and women by their men. I think that is unduly harsh. It is actually a reassuring message, that just because she has taken Jesus Christ as her personal savior doesn't mean she is perfect. Stressing over her feelings toward Buck made her bitchy and faint-hearted. The human problems in her live still need to be dealt with in a human manner.
And speaking of human problems, Ivy comes in, wearing a mini-skirt. They try to reconcile, but their meeting is basically tense and hostile. Ivy looks at Chloe's Bible and says, "So, you believe in that stuff?" Chloe tells her that faith is "not just reading, it's believing." She also says, "I guess it’s like my mom said, faith is a choice. And it comes from the heart, so you either want to believe it or you don’t." So apparently faith is something you can switch on and off at will. Ivy says it has never been a strong point for her, but Chloe has planted a seed, so presumably we will see Ivy saved later on. We end with a brief glimpse of Pastor Bruce watching over so we will know that we are in the church.
In Jerusalem, we see some sort of indoor-outdoor cafe with an open fire, live goats and chickens (on the menu, perhaps?) and Hasidic Jews in broad-brimmed hats, beards and sidelocks. Buck has Ben-Judah's picture. He is wearing a Hasidic hat, but is clean-shaven. When Buck meets the Rabbi, he is actually wearing a yarmulke instead of a broad-brimmed hat. He recognized Buck, with a faint tone of hostility. And he is clearly under Carpathia's spell. He worries about the men at the Wall dividing the world instead of uniting it (again with the fear of unity!) and he says, "There is no Heaven, no Hell. There is only us." Buck is alarmed, seeing the Antichrist at work. He pulls the go to the Wall to discredit them schtick again, and calls Ben-Judah "the world's most knowledgeable and respected religious scholar." He promises to film the whole thing "for the world-wide GNN audience to see." Talk about blowing your cover!
Buck does not seem to be making much headway with Ben-Judah, but Steve Plank is alarmed. He warns Nicolae that Buck is heading to the Wailing Wall to "discredit" the witnesses. Nicolae orders a 24-hour monitor on all GNN broadcasts and immediate notification on any broadcast from the Wailing Wall and issues a press release that all trespassers to the Wailing Wall will be shot on sight. Steve Plank appears to agree, though whether because he is under Carpathia's control or because he is sure Buck will not take the chance is not clear. The segment cuts off in mid-sentence.
It has, however, raised suspense to a high level as we are left to wonder what will happen next.
*Although, to be fair, just because this is not in any other Gospel does not necessarily mean it was not true. Nothing in the passage in intrinsically unlikely. Romans who wanted to finish up a crucifixion did, indeed, do so by breaking the victim's legs. It is entirely probably that the Jewish authorities would not want crucifixions to continue on the Sabbath, especially during Passover. And, obviously, if Jesus had already expired it would be pointless to break his legs. But even assuming John's account is true, his explanation sounds very much like retrofitting Bible passages (that are not even prophecies) to fit events.