Rising darkness, p.1
Rising Darkness, page 1
Chapter 1 “We lost our way—and then we lost our kingdom.”
Chapter 2 “It will be difficult to fight them in their own land.”
Chapter 3 “Are you for us? Or are you for our enemies?”
Chapter 4 “How can a man sin against God on the heels of a great victory?”
Chapter 5 “Even deliverers are corruptible.”
Chapter 6 “Out of the eater came something to eat.”
Chapter 7 “Truly the Lord has occasioned something great here tonight.”
Chapter 8 “If we bring down the kings, we bring down the nation.”
Chapter 9 “The dream ended at Eden.”
Chapter 10 “Humans seek such gods as suit them.”
Chapter 11 “From a traitor to a commander of traitors in such a short time.”
Chapter 12 “I will make myself like the Most High!”
Chapter 13 “We must believe the prophets.”
Chapter 14 “I can protect you only to a point.”
Chapter 15 “We must have blood on this one.”
Chapter 16 “A simple exile will never do.”
Chapter 17 “My king, may you live forever!”
Chapter 18 “This Christ shall die a humiliating and bloody death!”
CHRONICLES OF THE HOST 3
D. BRIAN SHAFER
© Copyright 2003 — Doug Shafer
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Many thanks to all my friends, family, and church family who encouraged me in the writing of this third book in the series. It’s hard to believe that number three is a wrap! Thanks to my mom and dad, Andy and Mary Shafer; brothers Ron and Mike; and all the folks back in Texas.
Also thanks to Rob Belles and Dwight Davis for their inspiration and for allowing me to use them as characters in the book. Sorry they turned out to be bad guys, but what are you going to do about it?!
Thanks to my church family—Valley Christian Center—for supporting and encouraging me: Pastor Ray Noah, Connie Combs, Bryan Tebbutt, Phil York, and on and on and on.
And many thanks to my wife, Lori, and my beautiful daughters Kiersten and Breelin, who are growing up much too quickly—cut that out!
Most of all—thank You to the God and Lord we serve, whose willingness to die for all of us makes anything worthwhile possible.
“Some Thoughts About the Third Book From the Author”
Rising Darkness was born out of the idea of the intense warfare that had been waged against the nation of Israel during the years before Jesus was born. Although in the end light wins out, I chose this title to reflect the violent opposition to God’s plan of redemption both in the hearts of men and of angels.
As I began book three I wanted to maintain the same energy and characters but from a different angle. I decided to tell the story in flashback fashion—as you read I hope it will make sense. The historical references are as accurate as I could make them, and the names of cities, historical characters, and such were researched for their valid spot in history.
I also added a timeline that places the reader for points of reference. Inasmuch as this book is not only a novel, but hopefully something of a teaching tool, I wanted the reader to have some sort of historical context. I used the date of 4 B.C. as the time around the birth of Christ, since that is how the calendars seem to work it out. Sounds weird that Jesus would be born four years “Before Christ”—but look it up sometime.
Finally, book three covers a huge segment of Bible history. Naturally I could not retell every detail that happened, particularly in the Kings and Chronicles section. I recommend that you read those Books again if you want to brush up on your Bible history. They are wonderful Books. Regarding the prophets, I tried to tell their message as directly related to any angelic involvement or messianic revelation, so this book is heavily weighted towards men like Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, and Daniel.
I hope you enjoy the read. Please feel free to email me with your thoughts at [email protected] God bless you.
Rising Darkness Cast of Characters:
chief of the fallen angels
Kara, Pellecus, and Rugio
Lucifer’s chief rulers
demon prince over Jericho
a warrior assigned to Khasis
an aide to Kara
one of Kara’s angels assigned to Samson
a demon sent to torment Saul
aide to Rugio; sent to harass Elisha
chief aide to Rugio
aide to Pellecus in Babylon
aide to Pellecus; formerly on Lucifer’s council
an archangel and Chief Commander of the Host
an archangel and Chief Messenger
an angel assigned to Bethlehem
an angel assigned to Daniel the shepherd
a warrior scout assigned to Michael
wisdom angel and friend to Michael and Gabriel
a chief aide to Michael
an angel assigned to Samson
an angel in Bethlehem
Shepherds at Bethlehem
leader of Israel after Moses
a leader in Israel; friend to Joshua
Jarez and Zogor
spies from Jericho sent to watch Israel’s crossing of Jordan
a prostitute in Jericho
one of Joshua’s commanders
an aide-de-camp to Achan
a judge over Israel
a priest of Dagon
Joseph and Mary
pilgrims to Bethlehem
father of David
a shepherd; later king of Israel
the last of the judges of Israel who anoints David king
Israel’s first king
the Philistine champion
David’s oldest brother
king after David
Solomon’s son, ruler in Judah after the kingdom is divided
first king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel
an elder in Israel; former counselor to Solomon
counselor to Rehoboam
a king of Israel
Jezebel’s spy sent to watch Elijah
a prophet after Elijah
Isaiah, Hosea, Micah
prophets in Israel and Judah
king of Assyria
Sennacherib’s envoy to Judah
a king of Judah
a prophet in exile
a prophet in exile
king of Babylon who destroyed Jerusalem
Nebuchadnezzar’s chief advisor
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
three Hebrews who are Daniel’s friends
Arbo-kan, Divis, Bellesor
conspirators against the Hebrews in Babylon
last king of Babylon
king of the Medes and Persians
ruler in Babylon after the Medo-Persian conquest
conspirator against Daniel
Berza, Farsin, and Sheshbar
co-conspirators with Kezzar-mar
“We lost our way—and then we lost our kingdom.”
Bethlehem, 4 B.C.
The little fire crackled with delight as a few more pieces of very dry branches and sticks were thrown atop its dancing flames. Faces near the fire reflected a reddish sheen as they watched the wood being devoured greedily. One of the men stared vacantly into the light while watching his friend’s efforts to keep the fire alive.
He looked at the others who sat around the flames. There wasn’t much heat being thrown off, but then again it didn’t really matter. This fire was not for warmth of body, but for warmth of spirit. The evening fields outside Bethlehem were bleak and boring for watchful shepherds, and this night was no different…or was it?
Not far from the shepherds, and unseen by them, stood two figures—angels of the Lord who had been assigned to watch over these humble men of the fields. And so they watched, enjoying the occasional banter of these who faithfully watched over their flocks. And they waited…
“Good Serus, why are we watching these particular men?” asked Bakka.
Serus, who had been apprenticed to Michael and was now mentoring Bakka in the ways and means of serving the Most High on earth, looked at his charge.
“We are watching these men because the Lord has ordered it so,” said Serus.
Bakka stood silent for a moment more and then spoke again.
“But what are we to be doing in particular?” He finally managed to ask. “I thought I was sent to earth to engage the enemy—not to shepherd shepherds.”
Serus smiled at Bakka’s eagerness. He recalled all too well his first assignment with Michael. He too had been very zealous and had driven Michael to exasperation because of his desire to get in the war firsthand. Bakka was a good angel, recently released from the Academy of the Host where he had been trained in the art of warfare for the Most High. He was ready now to take the things he had learned and apply them in glorious battle for the Most High God.
“Every assignment is important, Bakka,” said Serus. “The war is fought on many fronts and in many ways.”
“Yes I know, good teacher,” said Bakka. “But I wish to do something significant. Something that will make a difference in the war…”
Serus indicated the shepherds before them.
“Every decision that humans make, every action they take, every thought they think makes a difference in the war. Our duty is to uphold the Lord’s authority in Heaven and on earth by serving these men made in God’s image.”
They walked over to the campfire where the men were enjoying a bit of meat cooked over the fire. Serus turned to Bakka.
“Look at these men, Bakka. They are poor and simple shepherds in the eyes of men. They have no real importance to anyone outside their families. And yet the Most High loves each of these as much as He loved the great kings of the past—even David himself. Our duty is to serve the Lord by serving them; to help them in their times of trial when they call upon the name of God in prayer; to protect them when we can from the enemy who seeks to devour them because he is jealous of the Lord’s great love for them. The war is being fought here and now in the minds and hearts of men—even these simple shepherds who love God and look to Him for their deliverance. And you have been assigned to one of these men in particular—a man who has become discouraged of heart and mind.”
“Which man?” asked Bakka. He eagerly surveyed the group, hoping that it was perhaps the brawny fellow who seemed to be more a soldier than a shepherd.
Serus coyly gave him a “you’ll have to wait a bit more” sort of look, holding up his hand to stop their conversation. The words of a little boy of about eight, a son of one of the shepherds, had caught Serus’s attention.
“Listen and hear how the minds of humans work,” he said, smiling.
“But how old was King David when he killed Goliath?” the boy whose name was Joshua asked, continuing the line of questioning about his favorite hero, which had dominated the conversation thus far. The men smiled at the boy’s curiosity about men and women of their past.
Joshua’s father, a gentle man whose sunburned skin belied his age, smiled down at his little boy. He looked around at the other men, some of whom also had their sons with them. He then answered as if in deep thought.
“Well, Joshua, as I was saying, that was a long time ago. But I think he wasn’t too much older than you when he killed the giant and saved Israel.”
“But before that he had killed lions and all sorts of other animals, right?” said the boy, who made sure he could feel his little sling nearby. He kept a wary eye out for any intruding animals.
“Yes, that’s true,” said the father, Elron. “King David killed many wild animals before he met Goliath.”
The men settled in around the fire. They enjoyed drinking in the stories they themselves had grown up with—there was comfort in reliving the glory days of Israel in the face of the present bitter occupation.
“But Joshua, you must realize that David didn’t kill the giant,” Elron said, taking the sling from the boy’s fidgety hands. “The Lord Almighty killed Goliath. Just as He promises to destroy all our enemies.”
As he finished speaking, the raucous sounds of drunken Roman officers roaring through the streets in chariots drifted up the hillside from the edge of town. The father turned toward the noise and then back to his son, who was still looking toward the sound of the disturbance.
“Yes, even the Romans will be defeated one day,” he said resignedly. “The Lord will avenge us…someday.”
“Not the Messiah, again,” said Daniel, another of the shepherds.
“Yes, Daniel, the Messiah,” said Elron. He gave them all a look of confidence. “He will come one day and save His people.”
Daniel shook his head in disgust. He pointed toward the town and said, “The only thing the Romans will ever understand is violence. They killed my brother for some stupid senseless reason. They only understand blood. You know that!”
After a few moments of tense silence, the boy Joshua suddenly spoke up, sincerely puzzled by Daniel’s statement.
“But don’t you believe the Messiah will come some day?” he asked quietly.
“I hope your father is right, Joshua,” he said finally. “I hope that there is a Messiah, an Anointed One, who will come and save us.” He then looked at the rest of the men. “But until that happens, we must be prepared to meet force with force!”
“We learned long ago that the might of men gains nothing,” came the voice of Eli, an ancient shepherd whose wisdom was respected by all. “That is how we came to lose our freedom to so many…the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greek kingdoms and now the Romans. We lost our way—and then we lost our kingdom.”
Daniel stood up, agitated now.
“We don’t need a lesson in how many times we have been occupied, dear Eli,” he said, throwing up his hands. “Surely you don’t propose that we wait out the Romans.”
“In the Lord’s timing the Messiah will come,” said Eli. “And when He does, He will set things right.”
“When He comes…when He comes,” said Daniel. He walked off, disgusted by the way the conversation had gone, as well as by the way he had handled it. As he walked he brushed up against Bakka, never knowing that he had touched an angel, and stood in the darkness, staring down at Bethlehem. The angel was amused at the man’s reaction to such profound wisdom spoken by the old shepherd. He turned again to the conversation.
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