JACOB INSTALLMENT #25

Chapter Twelve

Coffee in hand, Jacob glanced around the small cafe seeking an empty table. His eyes caught a woman seated alone. Her beauty took his breath away and his attraction startled him. The attraction wasn’t sensual. Moira had already imprinted herself on his heart and mere beauty, gorgeous as this woman was, made no inroads into his romantic commitment to his companion. It was more like kinship, that he not only knew her but felt in some indefinable way as if she was intimately connected to him. A hazy memory of a woman and a dream caught his attention, but before the image clarified the seated lady motioned with a finger, pointing to two empty chairs at her table. Before committing, Jacob turned around to Moira, who was following close behind, his eyes asking her for approval. Surprisingly, she stepped past him and reached over to the woman, introducing herself with a fervent hug. Surprised at the easy association between the spectacular woman and Moira,   Jacob settled for a handshake, but as the woman held his hand she smiled broadly, saying, “We’ve met before, Jacob. You don’t remember much about it, but I know that a yellow school bus with an angry driver already has started ringing some bells. And you, Moira. We’ve talked several times before. You do remember me and I’m happy to see you progressing so well. I’m particularly happy to see you two together.

“You’re Wisdom, aren’t you?” Moira declared. “I’m so very glad to see you again, but You don’t usually show up outside of my dreams. Is there a special occasion?”

“I do like to get out and about, and the coffee’s very good here,” Wisdom responded. But yes, there are two items. The first is personal. I enjoy seeing you two together. The second is important. You plan to head over to Tiberias. I don’t want you to do that. Bypass it and go northeastward instead, to the other side of Galilee in the area called the Golan Heights. It’s closer to Syria, and you’ll be able to accomplish your main objective with more results, which is to bring more of your fellow countrymen into the Christian fold. You’ll be heading toward Mount Hermon at the northern boundary, and you’ll be passing through a number of agricultural settlements along the way. When you get close to Hermon, you’ll be in a position to witness the fulfillment of prophecy taking place before your very eyes. It’ll be dangerous, but I know that you’re both beyond the fear of injury.”

“I feel very privileged,” Jacob said. “This is the first time that the Holy Spirit has actually commanded or forbidden something.”

Moira looked at him strangely, appalled at what he had said. Wisdom laughed. “Tell him, Moira,” She said.

“Jacob, you need to catch up on your New Testament Scripture. This is by no means the first time. Paul was forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach in Asia. It’s in Acts – – -“ She looked at Wisdom for the answer.

“- – -Acts sixteen, verse 6,” Wisdom supplied. “The reason that I’m directing you to Golan is that even as I’m communicating with you satan is assembling his forces for the massed assault on Israel as foretold by the prophet Ezekiel. It’s generally common knowledge among Christians, being called the Ezekiel 38 War. In the process, Golan’s going to be trashed, and so will Israel’s enemies. You’ll be in the thick of the action there, but even before the flag goes up you have much to do. With the ramping-up of persecution against Christians in the surrounding Islamic nations, the only remaining haven for them is little Israel. They’re coming here in droves and, with little education or sophistication but with a godly work ethic, they’re heading for the most part to the many agricultural communes east of Galilee in the heart of the Golan Heights. Once they hear of your own contributions to the understanding of God, they’ll be on fire in support of evangelizing the nation. Christianity – the real thing – is going to hit that area in a big way, bigger than you can imagine, and spread outward from there and Hebron to all Israel. Enjoy your coffee, but when you’re finished, go and tell your friends about your change of plans.” She arose and, giving them a long loving look, departed.

“Here, let me take one of those bundles,” Jacob said to Moira as the climb became steeper.

“Whew,” she replied, handing it to him and wiping her brow. “I won’t argue with that. But look at the view we’re getting. Happily for both of us, God did a beautiful job of healing your injured lung.”

“Yeah. It’s better than before the bullet. Speaking of beauty, I’m amazed at how lush it is here. Things are growing everywhere. I heard that it was pretty barren before 1948.”

“So it was. The prophets had foretold of how the land would lay waste until God’s people came back to re-occupy it, and of how it would blossom when they did. Did you know that during the entire period of the Diaspora, from 70 A.D. to 1948, the land was in the grip of an unrelenting drought? But the rains came back when we did.”

“Pretty impressive. It’s the kind of thing that the godless would be blind to. But it sure gives me a boost – – – WHOA!”

The jolt tossed them off their feet and they slid backwards several more. All the way up the hill they could see others who had fallen like they did. Moira reached out to Jacob as the earth continued to shake. “Help me,” she cried. “I’m terrified. I have a phobia about this.”

Jacob scrambled up to her and embraced her tightly. She clung to him with a desperate strength. If this is what it takes, he thought happily, bring it on! Within a little over a minute the shaking had stopped, but Moira continued to cling to him. He decided to press his good fortune by stroking her hair and kissing her on the mouth. It got him nowhere. She was too frightened. “Something must have happened to you before,” he murmured in her ear.

“It did,” she said in a small voice. She twisted in his arms and looked around. In the valley below, a small cloud of dust rising out of an overcrowded settlement marked a location where some destruction had occurred, but most of the civilization below them appeared to be intact. Quakes weren’t that common in this region. Fortunately, it was a small one. “I was in a very bad earthquake when I was a child,” she told him. Color was returning to her cheeks, and her beautiful eyes began to register another emotion. “How about another one?” she asked. He complied and they remained in their embrace for several minutes. Reluctantly they stood up, picked up their bundles and set out once more up the hill.

“Something happened to me, too, Moira,” Jacob said presently. “Maybe you’ve noticed that I haven’t been as . . . aggressive toward you as you might have thought. I love you, Moira. But something’s been holding me back.”

“Yeah, what’s the deal?” she replied.

“I was married once before. We had a baby together. Our marriage ended for all practical purposes when we got tossed into a death camp and our baby was murdered before my wife’s eyes.”

Moira tugged at his sleeve, halting him and turning him to face her. “How awful!” she exclaimed. Like the holocaust. I didn’t know America had turned so evil.”

“Yeah. Anyway, I want you to know that you’ve helped put that behind me. I love you with all my heart.”

“Prove it.”

They embraced for several minutes before they continued their upward trek.

“She must have made you very happy,” she said after a while. “I’ll try to do the same.” They left unspoken the obvious fact that a baby was not a tenable prospect in today’s world.

Chapter Thirteen

“Today I’ll venture into a brief history lesson,” Earl told the congregation the next Sunday. “I want to give you a little background regarding the time and environment in which the theory of evolution came into being.

“The world that Darwin was born into in 1809 saw the rapid ascendancy of science, beginning to nudge against the Word of God but not yet in open conflict with it. The spectacular achievements of Isaac Newton in the fields of mathematics and physics a century earlier had laid the firm groundwork for the rapid advance in understanding the natural world and the exploitation of it for the supposed betterment of mankind. The industrial revolution took off, and soon men no longer had to rely on the wind for ocean travel, nor on animals for transport over land or working the farm. Despite Newton’s own grateful understanding that God had given him a gift of comprehending facets of His creation, others saw his insights as products of man himself, particularly of that superlative organ, the human mind. It was a heady time, full of promise.

“The latter part of the eighteenth century was marked by a growing conflict between two very different views of both the earth’s history and the origin of life. Not long before Darwin’s entrance onto the scene of naturalistic speculation, the present condition of the earth, with its hills and valleys, meadows and barren outcroppings that revealed layers upon layers of different soils, was commonly viewed by the scientists of the day as having been formed by sudden, catastrophic events. This more traditional view articulated by the eminent French spokesman Georges Cuvier maintained that the earth had suffered periodic catastrophes, most likely great floods, causing widespread extinctions and subsequent creations. He was a harsh critic of the emerging notion of evolution, forming well before Darwin’s birth, and championed during his time by fellow Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.

“The prevailing paradigm that the earth’s features had largely been formed through the agency of catastrophic events was aggressively challenged by two investigators of the natural world about them who held very different viewpoints from those of the catastrophists. Scottish naturalist James Hutton, born in 1726, proposed in his 1788 paper Theory of the Earth the uniformitarian notion that the earth was influenced more by small changes occurring over large intervals of time than by sudden and large-scale events. Charles Lyell, born in 1797, the year that Hutton died, picked up his uniformitarian torch and expanded on it. A copy of his 1830 work Principles of Geology came aboard the Beagle with Charles Darwin, and greatly influenced his thinking. Among other concepts, the large time frames proposed by Lyell furnished the huge durations required to make his theory of evolution a workable proposition. Darwin was also influenced by another individual, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who was born fifty-five years earlier, and whose speculations had the effect of questioning God’s ongoing involvement with mankind. Lamarck preceded Darwin in proposing a naturalistic mechanism for the development of man. Although his concept was similar to Darwin’s later evolutionary theory, Lamarck differed from Darwin in his proposal that the inheritance of acquired characteristics was the primary force behind the ongoing progress of living beings. This mechanism has since been discarded as not viable through direct observation. Lamarck’s own speculations regarding evolution weren’t completely novel, as they were preceded by those of ancient Greek thinkers including Anaximander, who proposed that life evolved from non-life through purely naturalistic processes.

[to be continued]

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