HOME, SWEET HEAVEN INSTALLMENT #21

Chapter Twenty (continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“As a reminder of how seriously the person who accepts that mark transgresses against God, permit me to quote a passage out of Revelation Chapter 14:

“’And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints; here are they who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’”

 

“I hear you, Wisdom. But yet. . .”

“I’m not through. There’s another issue that your question raised and you were about to expand on, and it’s even more important than the other. You have to learn to trust Us in every circumstance. You cannot harbor any doubts as to Our character, even when an apparent contradiction arises, and remain firm in your faith. I’ve said it before in Job Chapter 40 and I’ll say it again to you now: ‘Shall he that contends with El Shaddai instruct? Let the one who accuses Eloah answer Her. Have you an arm like God?’ As the prophet Isaiah said in Chapter 51, ‘Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not She who hast cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? Art thou not She who hast dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; who hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?’ And, by the way: if you want to read Job and Isaiah to confirm it was Me whom they were talking about, you’d have to go back to the original Hebrew. A gender switch was made in the translation.”

“Sorry. I do get it,” Ellery said. “I see now that the contradiction was only apparent, from failing to understand Scripture in the depth I should have, and not actually thinking about what Jesus said. I guess this was a good lesson in understanding that Your ways are higher than ours. I won’t question You any more.”

“Are we that special that you – God – would visit us so personally?” Terry asked.

“Of course you’re special. All true Christians are enormously special. But no, I’ve been introducing Myself to a very large number of new Christians lately, just like you and Henry, as time is getting short and your perils are on the increase. We want you to know how very much We love you and We don’t want to lose a single one of you to a lack of faith.”

“And I have a question too, a rather big one,” Henry said.

“I know you do. Out with it.”

“Maybe I haven’t been a Christian until now, but I’ve picked up a thing or two about Christianity over the years. I’ve always understood that God was all male. I mean that the Trinity is an all-male Entity. Maybe you’re speaking on behalf of God. An angel.”

“That’s the prevailing understanding, all right. Did you catch My names of El Shaddai and Eloah? El Shaddai meant ‘full-breasted’ before it was taken to represent ‘almighty’. Very few people nowadays have even heard of the name ‘Eloah’, which is the feminine form of God. That name was simply removed from all translations of the original Hebrew. I could go on for days on that subject and the reason why Scripture was tampered with. Again, Earl and Joyce can fill you in on the details as the opportunity comes up. Remember, Henry, and you, too, Ralph, and the rest of you as well. Stay here for a while, let things cool down a little. Thanks again for the meal, Terry. I’ll be going now.” With that, She vanished.

“Hey!” Moshe called. “I wanted to thank Her for bringing us together,” he said, looking at Miryam.

“She knows, Moshe,” Joyce said. “And She just told me to wish you both well.”

“Unbelievable!” Ralph cried. “I’d always doubted that God exists, and here I am, right in His – Her – presence. I just don’t know what to believe. But did you see the way She appeared and disappeared? People can’t do things like that. Or maybe I’m going crazy.

“I’ll accept that,” Henry replied.

“Let’s go into the den, both of you, and you, too, Terry,” Earl said. “I have a lot to say to you about God, things to put smiles on your faces.”

“Yes, go,” Joyce said. “You go too, Miryam. We’ll do the dishes,” she said, looking at Marge. They almost eagerly got up from the dining room table to go into the den, Moshe and Ellery in tow. “Maybe you want to wait on the dishes,” Marge said to Joyce. I really wouldn’t mind hearing more about God.”

“I have a voice, too, and I can assure you that Earl and I are on the same page with respect to God.” Joyce tossed a dishcloth to Marge. “I’ll wash and you wipe, okay? And as I’m working the dishes, I’ll bend your ear.”

“Got it,” Marge replied. As the two women did the dishes and the others sat in the den, Earl and Joyce spoke out on the nature of God while the others listened. Much later Ralph got on his knees and asked Jesus into his heart. His perpetual frown was gone, having been replaced by a smile that was genuine.

Chapter Twenty One

 

 

Wisdom came back briefly as Ralph asked the Lord into his heart. She interrupted him before he had finished a rather lengthy confession of his past shortcomings. “We get it, Ralph,” She told him. You know what? You were so over-the-top with your repentance that I might even give you a B-B gun,” referring to the classic Christmas movie that featured another and much younger Ralph. When the laughter had died down, She continued. “Yet you doubt, and don’t try to wave if off as insignificant. It’s extremely important, Ralph, and it’s something we should clear up right now. You have been conditioned by society to view the Bible and science as at odds with each other, with the Bible coming out as the loser every time they clash. As it stands, you’re flat unable to take Scripture seriously. Let’s take science first. How about evolution? You may be surprised to know that those in the know, the molecular biologists and philosophical mathematicians, consider evolution to be a fraud. It’s only the people who don’t know the details of the science they so reverently regard who have been suckered into thinking it’s good science and actually true. These people are intelligent enough to form opinions about evolution, but too intellectually lazy to verify the truth for themselves. They simply think that “scientists” know what they are talking about. They don’t, believe Me. Then there’s the age of the earth and all that’s within it, so meticulously worked out by “scientists” who valued their own suppositions over reality and applied circular reasoning to dating, using fossils to date the various layers of soil, and then turning around and using the layers of soil to date fossils. I could go on and on about those two issues and a bunch of other ones, but I’m going to hand them over to Earl. If you’re interested enough to pursue the subject, talk to him.”

“But still . . .“

“Yes, what you want to tell me is that it’s common knowledge that some things in the Bible are fables and their truth ends with the moral messages they are intended to convey. You’re thinking of Noah’s Flood, the parting of the Red Sea at the Exodus, David and Goliath and, oh, yes, the story of Jonah just popped into your head. You’re not aware of this, Ralph, but Jesus represents the entire Word of God, Scripture if you will, and Jesus very clearly said that He is the truth. Indeed He is. If that’s the case, then Noah’s Flood was a planetary disaster, the Red Sea did indeed part for the Israelites to pass through, David did kill a giant with a sling and a pebble, and Jonah did get swallowed by a whale and lived afterward to preach to the people of Nineveh. You’re focusing on Jonah. Okay, let’s start with that. There are a number of documented and verified accounts of people being swallowed by whales and living when they emerged, usually through the subsequent capture and gutting of the creature. That used to happen more frequently in the past, when whales were hunted down for their blubber and oil. But there’s more to the story of Jonah than his getting swallowed by a whale and then preaching to the Ninevites. In that adventure, Jonah enacted a very important prophecy regarding the nature of Jesus, one that was reeanacted later by Jesus Himself. Earl, tell Ralph what Jonah did that landed him in the sea.”

“First of all, he was running away from God. God wanted him to preach judgment to the Ninevites, and he scurried away in a ship instead, trying to get as far away from Nineveh as he possibly could. Then he fell asleep in the hold, and a vicious storm came up, one so violent that everyone on board considered it to be an act of God against someone who had offended Him and feared for his life. They decided to draw straws, the holder of the short straw supposedly being identified by God as the culprit. It turned out that Jonah, who was indeed the culprit, drew the short straw. At that point, Jonah admitted hes offense and, full of repentance like you, Ralph, offered to have the others toss him overboard to quiet the storm. Two things happened after that: the storm quieted immediately, and Jonah was swallowed by the whale. He was in the whale’s belly three days and nights, after which the whale coughed him up on dry land, where he then traveled to Nineveh and preached its destruction. The Ninevites, from the King on down to the common folk, repented of their debauchery, and God allowed the country to live on for another hundred and fifty years before finally being overthrown.”

“But you said Jesus reenacted that event. I never heard that before.”

“Many people haven’t,” Earl said, “because their reading of the Bible often is too superficial to go beyond the more traditional passages. I wish we had a Bible, but if we did I’d take you over to Matthew 8, where Jesus is lying in the bottom of a boat and a terrible storm comes up, threatening to sink the boat. Wisdom, maybe You should be quoting the Bible here.”

“Absolutely not. You’re doing just fine paraphrasing the passage.”

“Um. Okay. Jesus is asleep in the bottom of the boat while a storm rages overhead. The others wake Jesus in terror and He calms the waters, just like Jonah did in permitting himself to be tossed overboard. The point, as I see it, is that Jesus was telling His disciples that He’d have to die and be buried three days for the sake of the salvation of the world. Is that about right, Wisdom?”

“Close. There are other prophetic items, but you’ve covered the main one pretty well. Go on, Earl. Tell him about David and Goliath.”

[to be continued]

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