Box Seats For Armageddon

In a kitchen overlooking Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives, a California ex-convict named Raymond studies scriptures, reports CBS News Correspondent Jesse Schulman. He says the end is at hand.

"It's almost as if something is quickening," says Raymond. "Something's, you know, building up."

A few weeks ago, he says God spoke to him and sent him to Jerusalem to await the second coming of Christ in the year 2000.

"The message that got me, grabbed me and shook me out of bed was, 'I'm coming back, get ready,'" he says.

But Raymond isn't the only one who has heeded the call. Brother David, a former trailer park operator from upstate New York, is the pastor of a small colony of born-again believers who expect apocalypse soon.

"I feel that by coming here at this particular time that we are able to secure in the spiritual realm front row seats for what's about to happen," he says.

Jerusalem is better known for the variety of the faiths practiced here than for the ability of those faiths to get along. An outbreak of millennium fever may be about the last thing this city needs.

No one knows how many people will come for New Years 2000, but it is conceivable that the city could be flooded with pilgrims that will need food, water and sanitation.

That prospect is giving some city planners apocalyptic visions of their own.

"The Christian freaks will meet Jewish freaks or Muslim freaks and each one will fight for the territory of his own god and when there is too much god, there is always blood shed," said one official.

Brother David and his friends seem peaceful to a fault. How bad a case of millennium fever Jerusalem gets may depend on whether they turn in to the advanced guard of a born again invasion or remain a tiny band quietly living out their beliefs in the city of their dreams.

Reported by Jesse Schulman
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