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ALIVE

ALIVE is a book presented as a blog series about human life from its inception. It studies the purpose of life, the philosophy of life, and the difference between physical life and spiritual life. The book does this by delving into the relationship between humankind and its invisible but highly active and involved Creator.

Based on Biblical narrative ALIVE enters major events and fleshes them out. In so doing ALIVE makes discoveries about the origins and evolution of human life.

ALIVE combines imagination and scriptual accuracy to develop the themes of what it means to be much more than physically ALIVE. Although imaginative, ALIVE never contradicts Scripture. Enjoy and learn.

The Bride's Year

This is a series of posts that make up a story describing the Year of The Church. The Church is The Bride of Christ who will be married to Him at The Wedding Feast of the Lamb as described in the Book of Revelations to John. The Wedding of Jesus Christ with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church occurs after the destruction of this old earth and the inauguration of the new earth, also known as The Land of Immortality. 

It is a tale of a cynical little angel that God sent to earth to learn about the mystical year of synchronic time and about His Betrothed.

My writing offers readers a fresh way of looking at and learning about orthodox Christianity.

The style is intended to help the mind and heart overcome old prejudices and awaken them to the Truth of God’s plan for the human-gods that were created in His image and likeness.

 

About the Blog

This blog is for those who take the line in the Nicene Creed seriously that says, “I await the resurrection of the dead and the life of the ages to come.” That is the life immortal into which Jesus Christ will someday usher renewed humans. For centuries these people have been called Christians, and they are still called Christians, but since Christianity has become such a broad term and Christ said that the gate into immortal life is narrow and difficult to squeeze through, then perhaps those few serious people would be better identified as “Aspiring Immortals”.

 

This blog is a journal of just such an Aspiring Immortal. Through stories, poems, and journal entries I teach orthodox Christianity. I am not a religious rebel, instead I’d rather identify with GK Chesterton, CS Lewis, and my favorite Saints such as Francis of Assisi, Chrysostom, and Climacus whose vision and creativity have guided so many aspiring immortals through this earthly life.

 

A companion to this blog is my book entitled “The Immortal Life (TIL).” TIL teaches orthodox Christianity to those who want to know the reason for life and death, good and evil. TIL explains it all from the fall of mankind to the annihilation of this planet with a refreshing contemporary voice that is at times even funny.

 

We all work very hard to improve life on this planet for ourselves and for each other. And yet there is so much more life has to offer. Aspiring immortals are the salt of this earth and the substance of the next one.

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    Monday
    Feb202017

    ALIVE: Chapter 44 Moses' Midlife Miracle 


    Overwhelmed, Moses had only imagined running away from the extinguished burning bush when he fainted. God was far from finished speaking to him.

    "Gracefeld, Perambula, wake up this man that I may continue to instruct him!" ordered God.

    Perambula spoke up. "Lord, I'm afraid that speaking with You was too much for him. He needs a moment to absorb the magnitude of Your presence. Let's be patient and let his subconscious process."

    "I must agree my Lord." added Gracefeld in uncharacteristic defiance of God's command.

    The two angels and God looked down at Moses laying barefoot and fast asleep in a fetal position.

    "He looks so peaceful doesn't he?" said Gracefeld.

    "Please wake him up Perambula; there is much to do and I am ready to get started."

    "How can You be in a hurry after waiting so many centuries?" replied Perambula and quickly added, "my Lord!"

    Without any help, or at least any perceived help from either angel Moses gradually opened his eyes to find himself still in front of the flaming bush. He quickly closed them again refusing to accept such a phenomenal reality and wishing only to flee back into his increasingly illusive dream.

    "Moses!" bellowed God. "Stay with Me. This conversation is only the beginning of the wonders you will see and perform as My right hand."

    Moses awkwardly propped himself to his feet while saying, "Lord God. I am a simple shepherd. Let me go and tend my flock. I know Pharaoh. He will never release the Hebrews."

    Without responding to Moses' request God continued, "I know, however, that the king of Egypt will not let My people go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders that I will perform in it; after that he will let you go. I will bring this people into such favor with the Egyptians that, when you go, you will not go empty-handed; each woman shall ask her neighbor and any woman living in the neighbor’s house for jewelry of silver and of gold, and clothing, and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters; and so you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

    Perambula looked over at Gracefeld and said, "That will be the day! How can those spoiled Egyptians survive without their slaves?"

    Then Moses, at the pace of cool honey, accepted the fantastic situation he was in, and said, “But suppose they do not believe me or listen to me, but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’”

    The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

    He said, “A staff.”

    And He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So Moses threw the staff on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses drew back from it.

    Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand, and seize it by the tail”—so he reached out his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand— “so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

    Moses looked at his staff and chuckled. He was amazed by what God did with his own staff. He looked up at the burning bush with a huge grin on his face, and then looked back at his wooden staff and tapped it on the ground twice. Indeed it was as hard as ever.

    Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.”

    With the grin still frozen on his face, Moses put his hand into his cloak; and when he took it out, his hand was leprous, as white as snow. Moses gasped in horror and quickly looked up at the flaming bush for an explanation.

    Then God said, “Put your hand back into your cloak”—so he put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored like the rest of his body— “If they will not believe you or heed the first sign, they may believe the second sign. If they will not believe even these two signs or heed you, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”

    Perambula turned to Gracefeld and said, "Have you ever, since the creation of man, known God to speak so much to a person... who can hear Him? I confess Gracefeld, this alone is more astonishing to me than any of these magic tricks."

    "Maybe so, maybe since Eden, but then neither you nor I went to Eden, so we wouldn't know. What God is about to do is probably important enough to defy the laws of nature." replied Gracefeld who was both irritated and offended by Perambula's use of the word magic.

    "Freeing a few slaves?" questioned Perambula.

    "Remember Perambula, these people that He wants to free, don't really know Him. God is about to introduce Himself to His children!" Tears welled up in Gracefeld' angel eyes to match Perambula's emotions. "You take knowing God for granted Perambula. Soon you will witness a facet of God that you have never seen."

    While the angels chatted with each other Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

    Then the Lord said to him, “Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.”

    But he said, “O my Lord, please send someone else.”

    Perambula whispered, "This isn't going very well. This man doesn't even want to help God answer the prayers of his own people, of the mothers and fathers of abused children! What a coward of a man, what laziness, what a worm!"

    Then the anger of the Lord was also kindled against Moses and he said, “What of your brother Aaron the Levite?"

    Perambula surprised that God would offer to appease this coward rather than destroy him and find someone else, also wondered how Moses could have a brother since all the baby boys had been killed when Moses was a baby. Gracefeld heard Perambula's thoughts and shrugged. He assumed that this brother was in-fact a cousin, since God called him a Levite, a cousin who had been born in a remote village, closer to Midian where he first met the refugee Moses, a distance from the grasp of Pharoah's henchmen. Besides, the identity of this co-worker did not matter, neither to Gracefeld, nor to God who must have known this would happen and prepared for it.

    Annoyed by the angels' side conversation, but aware that Moses could not hear them God continued, "I know that he can speak fluently; even now he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you his heart will be glad. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. He indeed shall speak for you to the people; he shall serve as a mouth for you, and you shall serve as God for him. Take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs. Go.”

    This time the flame of the burning bush sputtered until it was thoroughly extinguished. The bush rapidly returned to its facelessness. After several moments used to collect himself Moses tightly gripped his magical staff, turned his back on the bush and walked down the mountain gradually shedding the person he had been, a man of fear and doubt.

    Perambula and Gracefeld helped Moses round-up his sheep and goats. Nevertheless, Moses didn't have time to ponder his new mission until he was back home. When he arrived his wife and sons greeted him cheerfully, but Moses was not ready to tell them about his conversation with the Voice in the burning bush. He needed time to ponder his brand new role as savior, as God's ambassador to the mighty king of his world. After supper, Moses announced to his wife that he would return in the morning, and grabbed a bedroll, and walked out of his boisterous home and into the still and silent desert, to a spot where he often went to think. Under the stars Moses looked back on his life, his extraordinary life from the earliest time he could remember, when he had to leave his loving mother and sister and go to live in the palace as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He had cried for weeks, but she was patient and kind, often trying to distract him from his grief with marvelous objects, including his first puppy, his childhood companion.

    Early the next morning, fortified with newfound courage, Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Please let me go back to my kindred in Egypt and see whether they are still living.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”

    A few days later, the familiar Voice of the Lord called out to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt; for all those who were seeking your life are dead.” So Moses took his wife and his sons, put them on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt; and Moses carried the staff of God in his hand.

    And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders that I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.

    Hearing that Perambula flew over to where Gracefeld was to say, "Why is God hardening Pharaoh's heart to do the opposite of what God wants him to do? This doesn't make sense!"

    Gracefeld often marveled at Perambula's stupidity, but being an angel Gracefeld knew that tolerance and patience were essential and replied, "He knows that the journey from slavery to freedom will be long and difficult, requiring much faith and perseverance. The people will be tested over and over again to build their strength and endurance. They will need the memory of marvels to cling to, to remind them that God, their God and Father, is with them guiding them, not only on the physical journey, but on a psychological and spiritual aspects of the journey to a promised land, that only you and I know is lightyears into the future.

    Sunday
    Feb122017

    ALIVE: Chapter 43 Deologue

    God arrived first. The condition of the Hebrews was worse than when He saw them last. Men walked through the streets with welts on their naked backs that hurt so badly shirts would have sent echoes of the pain throughout their bodies. The taskmasters liked it that way for the sight of red puss-filled stripes kept other men and even haughty women in line.

    "I found you Lord!" exclaimed Perambula as the angel glided into the place where God stood observing His people Israel.

    Perambula looked down and gasped at the sight of a young man, no more than fifteen years old, being whipped and screaming out while the others and his father watched.

    A loud cacophony of prayerful cries as a tidal wave blew past Perambula and God from slave hearts begging for relief. The angel looked over at God's face for reaction and then down at boys bent over transporting stones half their weight while muddy sweat trickled down their brows.

    Screaming hearts that only God and Perambula heard wounded the dense dusty air. Words broke through shrill sound. "Lord deliver us from these evil men! Come Lord, quickly before we perish in despair!" "Help me! Save me! Take me! Let me die!"

    Invisible God and Perambula watched as three young boys walked by them together in short steps; the boys were no older than ten and they each had their ankles tied together to prevent them from running. Expressions of sadness and fear on their beautiful faces cast dark shadows on their path.

    Perambula shot God a look of fury and shouted, "How can You allow this! Listen to these cries! You call these Your people! Look at this misery in every house; men and women fight with their brothers and sisters; the more humble men and their miserable wives don't dare speak to each other to find relief in silence. I have never seen such injustice! How cruel men can be! How demonic; worse! The demons are only shrewd, not violent. DO something! Now!"

    A temperate breeze was God's initial response. "I allow the sun to circle the earth, I allow avalanches to destroy, lions to kill. I planned every moment of gestation down to the formation of minuscule neonatal hair follicles; I allow you to question Me. Oh my dear Perambula, when will you learn the value of suffering? But then how could you ever know this from your ethereal existence? Wait before you judge Me.

    I am testing them in the furnace of adversity, for My own sake. For My own sake, I do it* (Isaiah 48:10). The horror that you see are seeds of a lesson that will rival the Flood. The metamorphosis of a slave into a free man is even more significant than the evolution of humanity after the devastation of the Flood. Can anyone appreciate light without suffering darkness and death? Can I know which hearts are pure unless tested by fire?

    Israel is my first born son (Exodus 4:22). It is not good enough for Me to know this; Israel must know Me and want Me, and acknowledge Me as his Father. Moses is My mid-wife who will deliver My son into My hands."

    "Speaking of Moses, where is he? Did he go to jail for killing the Egyptian?"

    Without acknowledging the question, God departed and Perambula followed close behind. They arrived at Horeb, the mountain of God where Perambula instantly recognized a friend in a most unusual situation.

    "What are you doing here Gracefeld?! Don't you see the flames surrounding you? Get out from there!" exclaimed Perambula.

    "Shhhh!!" Replied the angel, "Be quiet and watch!"

    Indeed Gracefeld had created a most spectacular sight. The angel managed to reside within a flame. The bush that surrounded the angel burned brightly and yet did not turn to ashes.

    Perambula looked over in the distance and recognized an older and more tattered Moses approaching the spectacle in curiosity with his flock following closely. Gracefeld stood patiently waiting for Moses to arrive.

    "Okay Gracefeld, stand back with Perambula. I'll take over now." said God as He entered the center of the flames. Gracefeld respectfully hovered over to Perambula and together they watched the bewildered Moses approach.

    "Moses, Moses" God called from the bush.

    Moses was at first drawn by the curious blazing bush and then shocked by The Voice that emanated from it. His flock of sheep neighed loudly in fear. Moses drew closer to the flames and replied, "Here I am."

    God warned, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." God paused to give Moses time to comply which he did very clumsily while unlacing his sandals.

    When Moses finished, he looked up at the bush again and heard, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Moses, being raised in Pharaoh's court and having no intimate contact with the Hebrew people, did not know of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob, but he was aware that there was a God of the Hebrews.

    Moses turned away in fear. He would have run, but either because he was without shoes and the ground was sharp with rocks and pebbles, or because his thighs were paralyzed with fear, Moses fell to his knees and covered his face with his long muscular arms.

    Gracefeld looked over at Perambula to see how the angel was reacting to this conversation between God and a human being. Perambula's face was expressionless and deep blue angel eyes were fixed on Moses. Gracefeld wondered whether Perambula was shocked or deeply curious.

    God bellowed loud enough for Moses to hear through the spectacle of the flames, "I have observed the misery of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed I know their suffering."

    Perambula leaned over to Gracefeld and whispered, "Of course He has, for centuries!"

    Moses was amazed and confused. The Voice had called Himself God. Never had Moses known God to speak to a man. In fact Moses, like all the Egyptians and most of the Hebrews, had no knowledge of God at all. His heart started to beat rapidly, his hands became numb with fear, but his eyes having escape the refuge of his arms became fixed on the burning bush.

    As Moses listened to the Voice of God, it occurred to him how he and God had this in common, that they were of the Hebrew people without living among them. They both cared deeply about the injustice of their slavery from their positions removed from the actual plight of the people. "How odd, how surreal," thought Moses, "that a flesh and blood human being could have something in common with an invisible, yet supremely powerful intelligence, such a mysterious and awesome Being is 'God'." Moses wondered if he was dreaming as he listened to the Voice of God as the sound of thunder from the heavens.

    Ignoring the tumult within Moses, God continued speaking nonchalantly as if there was nothing unusual in their conversation. God, for the first time since creation, overrode His own laws of nature to initiate a most unique relationship with Moses. Surely God spoke to Noah and to Abraham before, but never to the extent that He intended to speak to, and to use Moses. "I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians," continued God, "and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites."

    Perambula leaned over to Gracefeld and whispered,"There He goes again with the same promise of land that He strung Abraham along with for so long. I wonder if He will actually deliver it this time."

    While God listened to Himself mention the Canaanites, a flash of the man Ham entered His Holy Mind. Ham, the father of Canaan who shamefully looked upon his naked father Noah and was cursed for it, then God went on, "the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to Me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt."

    Perambula whispered, "We'll see!" The two angels looked over at Moses whose eyes were as big as swollen summer figs. Perambula was still amazed that Moses could hear God speak. Gracefeld was much more calm as if God spoke to humans every day. Gracefeld knew that God chose Moses from the womb, for this purpose. Only could a Hebrew raised in Pharaoh's court have the presence and personality to defy Pharaoh to the extent that only God knew would be necessary. But first Moses had to be humbled and removed and that phase, accomplished in Midian, had run its full course.

    Moses composed himself enough to reply to God as if he was speaking to his father-in-law, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"

    God answered, "I will be with you; and this shall be a sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain."

    Perambula said to Gracefeld, "What kind of a sign is that? What proof to the humans?"

    "Shh, be quiet!" replied Gracefeld.

    Instead Moses inquired, "If I come to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your ancestors has sent me to you, and they ask me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?"

    God said, "I am who I am. You shall say to the Israelites, I Am has sent me to you. Tell them that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My title for all generations.

    Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and say to them, "The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me saying: 'I have given heed to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt. I declare that I will bring you up out of the misery of Egypt, to the land of the Cananites, the Hittites the Amorites, the Perezzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.

    They will listen to your voice; and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; let us now go a three days journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God."

    Suddenly God vanished from within the burning bush as a light-switch clicked off, darkness ensued as the moment after a bolt of lightening rips through the night sky. Moses suddenly found himself standing before and staring at an ordinary bush in silence.

    Moses' knees buckled and he fell to the ground still wondering if he was in a dream or whether it was possible for a person to hear the voice of God speaking directly to him. The flock began neighing in the background drawing Moses's attention back to his job. There was no time to think anymore as he realized he needed to round them up. So Moses quickly tied his sandals back on his feet and ran away from the Holy Ground.

    Friday
    Jan272017

    ALIVE: Chapter 42 Never Forget

    Perambula and God left the Jordan River and John with a crowd waiting to undergo the mock flood they called baptism. The curious angel figured that John demanded their repentance to qualify them to be in the imaginary ark of salvation which explained to the angel how baptism worked and why.

    God broke into the angel's musings, "Wrong." He said. "The baptized are those outside the ark. They are the resurrected who drowned in the Flood, but were reborn purified. Some events are so important that I can't let time bury them. The Flood is that. My people must be baptized." God looked deep into Perambula's angel eyes for signs of understanding, then added:

    "It is one thing for me to grieve all the death and destruction the Flood caused, but for the catastrophe to have purpose equal to its horror, it must be useful throughout time. No one must ever forget that the world was annihilated for the wickedness of humankind, their hateful self-centered ways. Every generation must be reminded that the reward of wickedness is death, because I meet-out Justice!"

    "Awareness is pretty important to You, isn't it Sir?" said Perambula.

    "Wisdom and knowledge separate man from animal. The dawn of awareness is the divide between death and life, sleep and wakefulness, darkness and light. I made light to initiate life and awareness. I want to make a world with no ignorance, with no darkness, with no death whatsoever."

    "A world without death." echoed Perambula wistfully and added, "You know Lord, that You already have such a world with us angels. And if the people turn into spirits after their bodies die, what do we need with human beings? They're such a nuisance!"

    "Don't be absurd Perambula!" bellowed God causing tidal waves through the heavens.

    Perambula recoiled.

    It was that moment that Perambula learned how sensitive God could be, and that God learned how ignorant Perambula could be.

    God continued as if nothing happened. Perambula re-inflated. "I am proud of matter. Humans pride themselves in their discoveries of the complexity of My masterpiece. Why oh why would I ever want to go back to living in a spirit world! NO! NEVER; no matter how difficult the battle of Wills, I will prevail, even if it takes seven millennia instead of seven days to make the new immortal earth.

    I WILL make a new earth and fill it with tangible human replicas of Me, who by their own will and with their own intelligence, overcome the temptations of the evil one. That spoiler will be in prison for a thousand years. No Perambula, there will be earth and skies and seas, but no flood and no corruption. There will be life without death, awareness without sleep, joy without sorrow, health without illness, faith without doubt, peace without conflict, truth without lies."

    Perambula's eyes swelled, and the angel looked back down upon the earth with its thousand colors and textures, viscosity, and purposes and looked upon the people there talking and working, and for the first time the angel knew jealousy. For the first time the angel understood the word 'reality'. Perambula knew that what was seen was only a sliver of reality, and that material beings could only relate to that sliver, which Perambula contentedly viewed as a flaw.

    Then, as if God was changing the subject, He said,"Just as you rightly feel the full weight of the event of Abraham about to slay Isaac on Mount Moriah, for yielding his will to Mine in trust, there was a similarly powerful event that they must repeat every year through time for the benefit of its lesson on life and death. You should know of the contrast between slavery and freedom."

    "What is slavery my Lord?"

    How could I explain slavery to an angel? thought God. One person forcing his will on another, when even I as God would not force My will on Satan? God stood quietly pensive for a while. Perambula was quiet too, hollow, and patient until God said,

    "Oh my dear Perambula, of course you don't understand slavery. Allow Me to explain. Those humans, made in My image and likeness each have an inborn sense of self. This sense is called the ego, or the "I". The ego operates through something they call the "will" of the person. The will is the engine of the ego driving the person hither and yon. Do you understand?"

    Perambula tried to visualize a mechanical will driving a shell of an ego and said, "Lord, it seems to me that Satan has an ego too."

    "Satan and his demons have less power than humans. In fact, that was what I was about to say. The ego of most humans drives their will to become powerful. Power that can be used to build and power that can be used to destroy. But that is overly simplistic.

    Some humans consistently compare one with another, one group with another. They are being hierarchical, looking always for their advantages. They squirm, push and shove, elbow to climb over others. Some are more subtle but for many of those, it is to reach a lofty position from which to yield power over the others. Gold, knowledge, beauty are their tools like mountain climbers use spikes and ropes.

    Nature is their nemesis. Time corrupts, disease distorts and steals back the power."

    Perambula broke in, "Slavery Lord? You were going to tell me about slavery?"

    "Ah, yes. Thank you. Humans can be very useful to each other. They help each other and they use each other. A person's labor, if with little cost, enriches the most powerful. To enslave, to force groups of people has throughout history been a most beneficial practice. My own people fell into slavery, and I allowed that to teach them about the Will."

    "Did they learn? Where was I when all this was happening my Lord?"

    "It was after Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac and long before John started baptizing. My people were lead into Egypt because of famine in the land."

    "Did you have something to do with that Lord?"

    Ignoring the question God continued,"As I promised, Abraham's offspring grew in numbers and in strength, but not yet with land and kings of their own."

    "Lord," interrupted Perambula, "why are you withholding the promise of land for so long?"

    "I used their desire for the land to drive and to teach, and to test them. Back to the story, as the years went by and new kings ruled over them, kings felt threatened and had to suppress the Hebrews, fearful that they would conquer Egypt and take the fertile land and enslave the Egyptians.

    The Egyptian king told the midwives to kill every baby boy at birth but the midwives knew that the Hebrews were God's people and they feared God's revenge if they did, so they let the boys live. Pharaoh then commanded all his people to throw every Hebrew baby boy into the river Nile to drown."

    "How awful!"exclaimed Perambula. "How did I not know this?"

    God replied, "All of my angels cannot be assigned to earth. Nevertheless, a certain baby boy was placed by his parents in a basket and floated on the river. Pharaoh's daughter came down to bathe in the river and spotted the baby in the basket. The baby was crying and she took pity on him. The baby's sister looked on and when she saw that her brother touched the heart of Pharaoh's daughter, she asked if Pharaoh's daughter would like her to get a nurse to feed the baby. That was so agreeable that Pharaoh's daughter said she would pay the nurse to feed her baby. So the sister took her baby brother to his very own mother to be fed and grow in safety."

    "Ahh, what a nice ending." sighed Perambula.

    God smiled and continued.

    "The baby grew strong and when he was weaned the sister took him to Pharaoh's daughter as her son. She named the baby Moses which means to be taken from the water."

    "Gee," said Perambula, this is familiar! Being rescued from drowning in the water; sounds like the baby was given its own ark!"

    God smiled again at His angel's quickness and continued. "This was not the end of the story, but just the beginning.
    For hundreds of years Abraham's offspring served the Egyptians against their will in slavery."

    "And You allowed that my Lord?!"

    "Yes." and He continued, "The child Moses grew as Pharaoh's privileged grandson. On the surface he was Egyptian royalty, while deep inside he was a lucky Hebrew. One day Moses witnessed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. The inner Hebrew Moses became irate, looked around for witnesses and saw none, so he killed the cruel Egyptian and buried him in the sand."

    "Oh my!!!"

    "Weeks later Moses saw two Hebrews fighting and tried to break it up, when one of them said to him, "Do you mean to kill me as you did the Egyptian?" That shocked Moses, and the word of it got back to Pharaoh. Before Moses could be arrested he fled into the desert."

    Perambula said, "Were You not angry too that Moses killed the Egyptian?"

    God replied, "He knew it was wrong. To Moses it was an act of justice for which he duly suffered punishment by exile loss of power, position, and comforts. Moses became a refugee, lest he become a prisoner."

    Perambula stood agape. The angel was fascinated by the story which wiped away any jealousy he had felt over humans moments before.

    During those terrible years of slavery, My people, Abraham's offspring, recipients of the covenant, experienced slavery to understand the value of a free will. To appreciate freedom, they had to experience bondage. There is also a bondage to wickedness, to anger and hatred that is as powerful as the subjugation of one person to another.

    My dear angel, would that you could see how Satan's defiance of My Will and My Power will forever limit that fallen angel's free will. Satan believes that an army of souls are gathering behind the veil of darkness, but without precious bodies and without light, they will forever be hostage to each other."

    "The lesson is so dark My Lord! Will Abraham's children ever ever receive the land and power of your promise? Will they ever learn?" cried the angel.

    God grew frustrated over telling Perambula about Moses. Although in the description He could provide commentary, it was time to take the angel to Egypt.

    "Perambula, let us go to Egypt so you may witness for yourself the conditions Abraham's children fell into as they struggled with slavery."

    "Are you forcing me to go with You, or am I allowed to refuse my lord?"teased the angel.

    Without answering God quickly started the journey back in time, but not very far in space.

    Perambula raced to keep up.

    Friday
    Jan062017

    ALIVE: Chapter 41 The New Flood

    Once upon a time, about four hundred years after Abraham had first fallen asleep in Sheol, and that dark place was brimming with sleeping-dead captives, upon the face of the living earth one of Abraham's great grandsons, John the Baptist, appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey.

    Perambula looked on in awe. "What is going on here Lord? Look at all of these people enter the river as if they want to drown. Have they all gone mad?"

    God smiled and replied, "I am renewing world again, but in a quiet, more subtle way than ever before."

    More perplexed than before God's answer, nevertheless, Perambula shrugged and said, "I heard that 3's a charm! What are You going to do this time?"

    "I have sent this man, John, to earth to remind the world of the days of Noah when I was so repulsed by evil that I drowned everything but a human remnant of creation."

    "I remember." said Perambula.

    "Do you remember when the dove presented the olive branch?" added God proudly. "It was My primal definition of mercy. That olive branch told the family that their difficult days of confinement were finally over. That the purified earth was ready to receive them. That their suffering would turn to joy. And it did."

    This time Perambula was the one to smile as he fondly recollected the day when the eight survivors hobbled out of the ark of their salvation, baptized and meek, prepared to inherit the new earth. "Now THAT was a baptism!" exclaimed Perambula and added, "It was a rebirth for humankind."

    God added, "Those days must never be forgotten, but rather should be reenacted over and over again. Each person one by one must go through what Noah and his family did, if only symbolically, to be purified as Noah was, to inherit the world as he did, to understand the mercy of the olive branch as they did."

    "Well, at least they don't have to really drown. I don't think I could take watching that again." muttered Perambula who went back to watching the scene.

    Perambula witnessed crowds, like those that banged on the doors of the ark for admittance, flock to John. They seemed almost as desperate because they too didn't want to die, or suffer. Only this time it was as if the doors of the ark opened and as many as came to be rescued were saved. Or was it more than that, wondered Perambula who suddenly heard John shout?

    "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" John seem to have a whip in one hand and a life preserver in the other. The people he was shouting at could only imagine the wrath he was talking about.

    Perambula read in the mind of John that he was preparing the people to receive the Spirit of God! Perambula did not expect this. The angel could not understand why God so often kept His plans a secret.

    Perambula saw that the people were filled with expectation, and were questioning in their hearts whether John might be the Messiah they were waiting for to deliver them from their Roman oppressors. John replied to all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water, but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear the threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

    Perambula looked at God and said, "Baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire? How are You going to do that?!"

    "Something is about to happen in Sheol that will shock the underworld. Keep watching Perambula." said God.

    "Why don't You just tell me?"

    "Sh. Here He comes."

    Perambula looked on in awe as he saw Jesus coming to John who announced, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

    Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

    Perambula was shocked, "They heard you! They all heard you! How did you do that? Who is this Son of yours? What is going on here?!" Perambula was more alarmed than ever. The world seemed to be transforming in ways the angel never expected to see.

    Then Perambula heard this man, this so called Son of God, say, "He who has believed in Me and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."

    "Saved from what?! What is He talking about?!" Perambula looked at God with outrage because whenever the angel seemed to have a good grip on what was going on down on earth, things changed, and sometimes in big ways that were completely unexpected. That just happened.

    Saturday
    Dec312016

    ALIVE: Chapter 40 - Every Body Dies


    "Perambula, why do you sulk?" questioned the Lord with compassion over the angel's fallen countenance.

    "I am going to miss Abraham." replied the angel.

    "So, you finally forgave his adulteries? You weren't always so generous." inquired God.

    "Yes, but that scene on Mount Moriah. How could a man who didn't trust You to protect his wife from Pharaoh, or to give her a son, be willing to give back to You his greatest blessing, the seed of Your covenant promise of nations of offspring?"

    Without hesitation God replied, "Abraham learned to trust Me. He learned from his bad judgment. Don't fret Perambula, Abraham won't be locked in Sheol forever. I have a plan."

    "Forever? Lord, You are God! Just shine on Sheol and wake him up! Let his soul live with us."

    God was a little surprised to hear Perambula speak this way. He assumed that the angel understood the laws by which He had made heaven and earth, and the underworld, laws that govern life and death. After all, Perambula was in Eden. The angel heard God warn about the effect of eating the forbidden tree when He said, "ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ ξύλου τοῦ γινώσκειν καλὸν καὶ πονηρόν, οὐ φάγεσθε ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ· ᾗ δ᾿ ἂν ἡμέρᾳ φάγητε ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ, θανάτῳ ἀποθανεῖσθε.

    (Literal translation: away from the wood of coming to know, of perception [of] the good and oppressive toil, whoever of you eat from them, or in the day [you] eat from them, [you shall] die by death.)

    θανάτῳ ἀποθανεῖσθε. 'You shall die by death'. Adam and Eve were doomed to die when they ate of the wood.

    Puzzled Perambula pouted. The angel could not comprehend how awareness could cause death.

    Reading the angel's thoughts God explained, "Imagine that the sudden awareness of good and suffering created a surge of electricity in mankind's soul that triggered a short, a shut-down, death."

    Perambula, said with meekness, "Lord, they didn't die right away. They were expelled from the garden. What does this have to do with Abraham anyway?"

    "Perambula, there is a place in the center of the earth, or rather it is a state of being, that you are not capable of experiencing, which is death. It is said that the place is deep inside the earth and that they fell into it. That is why the experience of death is called The fall of man. There is no light there, no awareness, no sound. That place, that void, happened on the day that Adam and Eve became aware of the contrast of good and oppressive toil (sometimes considered to be evil.) On that day death, the effect of that awareness, became their destiny. That is where they went, their state of being, when their bodies died, and that is where Abraham is now."

    "Lord, do you mean that their awareness while in the body, triggered an equal and opposite response, the absence of awareness when out of the body? How interesting! Genius!"

    Perambula's enthusiasm suddenly collapsed in confusion. "Lord..."

    "Yes, dear one?"

    "Abraham didn't eat it. Why did he have to die too?"

    The patient Lord of all allowed silence to introduce His response. Perambula waited.

    "The perception of good and oppressive toil, once discovered, could no longer recede from human consciousness. Adam and Eve took it with them when they left paradise and they conveyed it to their children. Through the generations the perception of good and suffering, which each man surmises on his or her own, which may be separate from My perception, have existed. Thus by perceiving good and suffering separated them from Me.

    Humankind continues to feed from this wood, and thereby continues every day to feed the need to die. It is a cycle that will not cease. But I planted the antidote in the garden from which I expelled the miscreants, the wood of life; on the day they eat from the wood of life they will no longer die."

    "Wonderful!" exclaimed Perambula relieved. Quick, where is it so I can awaken Abraham and feed it to him!"

    "No." replied God. "I have removed all access to that tree, flames surround it and besides the humans have been evicted from the garden where the life-giving tree is planted."

    Perambula's face grew contorted and darkened into a deep purplish gray color, streaky and gloomy. "Abraham is doomed forever" thought the angel.

    "Trust me Perambula. The annihilation of death is not to be so easily achieved. Their perception, once gained, should not be erased. In due time..."

    Perambula blurted out, "How awful for Abraham, for all the others! But Lord, You despise death. Why did you make it?"

    "Death was not made any more than darkness and void were, which pre-existed creation. Death and darkness, even evil don't exist of themselves. These are the absence of life, of light, of good. They are parasites, or the exact opposites of what I made."

    "I have an idea!"

    "What is it?" replied God skeptically. "You made light! Look towards Sheol and Your light will blind the demons and the souls will wake up. Do it Lord!"

    "Good try angel." I cannot enter Sheol, because it is not a place but a state of being. Only humans may go there in death, and only to be captive to its darkness and its stillness."

    God disappeared before Perambula could ask about His plan."

    Abraham died. At the age of 175, his spirit vaporized and pulled away from his frail flesh and bones. He watched as his sons Isaac and Ishmael carried his empty body to the cave where he had carried Sarah years before. The men whom his boys Ishmael and Isaac became, carefully laid him as close to Sarah as they could. Servant boys held oil lamps to help them find their way through the dark silent cave in the earth. Isaac wondered if the God of his father had foreseen the destiny of this hollowed hallowed earth as it slowly formed these hundreds of years to perfectly fit and caress the bodies of the Patriarch and his queen.

    After setting their father down, Isaac and Ishmael stood in silence staring at the wrapped lifeless figure of Abraham, remembering the days they had spent together loving and laughing, learning and living.

    Ishmael thought about the day of circumcision, when he obediently surrendered his penis to his father and to God. His memory was painless. Isaac remembered being tied up and laying on the fire wood. Both sons of Abraham survived their sacrifice. Neither son was quick to walk away from this giant of a man whose blood ran through their veins.

    The younger and closer Isaac was the first to turn and walk out after reaching his hand over to touch Abraham for the last time reciting the words he had heard so often from the parched lips of Father Abraham. "Barukh ata adonai eloheinu melekh ha-olam." A short while later the young light-bearers followed teary-eyed Ishmael out of the cave, together the sons rolled the stone back over the mouth of the cave and secured it with reverence and fear. They hugged each other; finally free from the rancor of Sarah and Hagar; then the brothers went their separate ways.

    Abraham, in spirit observed the private ceremony with sadness and nostalgia. So many similar separations salted his long life, but that was when he was on the side of the living. Abraham was grateful for the chance to witness his burial before sinking into the silent depths of darkest Sheol where he was to sleep the empty sleep of death. When he arrived in Sheol, Abraham was not aware of being dead. He lost consciousness, and yet God knew exactly where to find him.

    Abraham was neither aware of his condition nor that he was surrounded by thousands, that Noah and Adam were in the same area of darkness, that Melchizedek was on his left and Cain and Abel side by side again. In Sheol there was nothingness, no time, no light, no fear or illness or greed. No land to own. No love.

    Abraham wasn't aware when Isaac arrived and then Ishmael, he never met Moses. In darkness, in stillness, in silence, the souls of Saul, David, and Joel, Samuel and Elisha along with millions of unknown, even all who perished in the Flood, fell deep into the earth. No one suffered, no one rejoiced. No one worshipped God, no one cursed Him. No demons bothered them, no angels encouraged them.

    No one expected to wake up. No one was aware of how close the demons and Satan were.

    Meanwhile, revolutions transpired on top of the earth. Kings were born and kings died. Countries were started and countries died away or were overthrown. Empire upon empire waxed and waned like the moon China, Greece, Rome while the deep darkness of death continued to receive and consume one life after another, century after century. A sliver of life in time for a world of death.

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