Unholy empire chronicles.., p.17

Unholy Empire: Chronicles of the Host, Vol 2: Chronicles of the Host, Book 2, page 17

 

Unholy Empire: Chronicles of the Host, Vol 2: Chronicles of the Host, Book 2
 



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  “The judgment of the Lord is upon this place!” Michael shouted. The archangels held their swords toward the heavens.

  By this time Bera drew up on horseback, amazed at what he was seeing. Kazak recovered and, inspired by Milicom, who was still in control of his mind, began shouting that these were demon gods sent by Abraham, and that they must invoke the gods of Sodom to war against them.

  A flash of light streaked out of the swords of the archangels into the sky and burst like thousands of particles, which began to rain down on Sodom and the other wicked cities in the valley judged by the Most High. Large stones of fire fell on the city, as the people shrieked and scattered, running for cover. Fire and fallen animals added to the chaos. The wardens of the gates thought the city to be under attack and ordered the gates sealed, trapping the people inside.

  Kazak rushed back to the temple and was killed when a stone hit him as he prayed to Milicom. He died at the bloody altar as he invoked the name of the god who by now had deserted him, for Milicom had fled when the wrath began to fall. Bera took cover in his palace, hoping to escape through a tunnel that led outside of the city. But the house was quickly consumed by fire, and the king died as it collapsed upon him.

  Within minutes the entire valley was consumed by this fire from Heaven. Even the soldiers in pursuit of Lot were killed by crushing, flaming stones that fell outside the city. Lot’s own wife perished horribly when she looked back, against the archangel’s command. Then the fire stopped falling.

  Miles away, Abraham could see a great plume of smoke rising in the east. He made his way toward the smoke with Ishmael, and the two of them looked into the valley, foul with the smell of sulfur, where the cities had been overthrown. He thought of those he knew in that city, and wondered if perhaps his nephew had escaped. The servant with Abraham remarked about the great column of billowy, white smoke that rose high into the air.

  But Abraham saw something else—perhaps for the first time. Looking upon the smoldering city of Sodom, and hearing the faint screams of the dying, he sensed the significance of the promise of God that Abraham should bear a Seed to His name. It was no longer about Abraham’s longing for a son, but God’s promise of a savior…

  Abraham began to weep. He now understood in his heart that, unless God acted to reconcile humans to Himself, as grim a fate as had befallen Sodom awaited all of mankind.

  Chronicles of the Host

  Isaac’s Birth, Ishmael’s Scorn

  What a day of rejoicing when Isaac was born! The Host of Heaven celebrated noisily along with the house of Abraham. This was also a very important time for Serus, Michael’s apprenticed angel, who was given the important assignment of watching over the boy’s progress.

  As the child grew, we witnessed with some amazement how deeply humans could love. Abraham was devoted to the son of his old age. He instructed Isaac in the ways of the Lord. Though he loved Ishmael, and was comforted by the Lord Himself that Ishmael would become a mighty nation, it was Isaac, the child of Sarah’s womb—the child they had waited so long for—who was the object of Abraham’s greater love.

  It so happened that over time Ishmael, true to the prophecy spoken over his life, began to mock Isaac, and once more Sarah demanded of her husband that Hagar and her child be sent away. Encouraged by the Lord, Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar again and guided her and Ishmael to a new life away from Abraham.

  As we watched the boy grow in strength and stature, we understood that nothing could separate Abraham from his son…nothing, that is, except the Lord Himself…

  “Serus!”

  “Well, Gabriel,” said Serus. “Welcome to Hebron!”

  Gabriel walked over to where Serus stood, watching Abraham and Isaac in conversation. The old man looked somehow younger now, as if Isaac had invigorated him. Serus enjoyed watching the two of them together, and indeed was finding his current assignment as guardian of Isaac quite fulfilling.

  “Abraham loves his son so,” said Serus. “Just look at the two of them! There rests great hope in that boy for all humans. A fine lad!”

  “Yes, Serus,” said Gabriel. “A fine lad.”

  Serus noticed that Gabriel seemed quite sullen. The archangel kept his eyes on the two humans—father and son—enjoying the day together as they worked with a new bow that Isaac was making.

  “Gabriel, what is the matter?” asked Serus.

  Gabriel looked at Serus and smiled a rather weak smile.

  “Serus, you understand that as a servant of God you are called upon to execute very difficult tasks at times?” asked Gabriel.

  “Yes, of course,” said Serus guardedly. “Am I being relieved of this assignment?”

  “No, Serus,” said Gabriel. “In fact you are to carry through to the very end of this task. You have been given a very special season in the life of the promise. It is a great honor for you.”

  “Yes, Gabriel, a great honor,” agreed Serus, still uncertain where Gabriel was taking the conversation.

  “As I said, we are not always to understand the things of the Lord,” Gabriel continued. “Our honor is in serving God without question as to His motives…”

  “Excuse me, Gabriel,” interrupted Serus. “But what is going to happen?”

  Gabriel watched as Isaac walked off to try out the new bow that he had made with his father. He then looked at Serus and answered.

  “A test. Abraham is going to be tested by the Lord.”

  “Tested?” repeated Serus. “What sort of test?”

  “A sacrifice.”

  “Oh,” said Serus, relaxing a bit. “What is to be sacrificed?”

  “Isaac.”

  Abraham was hoping that Isaac would get a kill his first time out with the fine bow he had made. It was a sturdy weapon, and should bring down a deer or wild pig if his aim was good. The camp seemed empty whenever Isaac was gone—even for short ventures like this.

  As for Ishmael, the last report Abraham had received was that he and Hagar had settled in the wilderness of Paran toward Arabia. He had taken an Egyptian wife and was raising his family in the desert. It warmed Abraham’s heart to know that God was taking care of both of his children.

  “Abraham!”

  Abraham by now recognized the voice of the Lord as one would recognize the voice of a friend. He immediately responded.

  “I am here, Lord,” answered Abraham, squinting in the sun as he looked around.

  “Hear Me, Abraham. You must take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love so very much, and you must go to Moriah with him.”

  “Yes, Lord,” said Abraham, a bit confused. “And then what?”

  Serus and Gabriel stood and watched from a distance as Abraham received instruction from the Lord. Though Serus knew in his heart that whatever the Most High did, He did with great wisdom and forethought, it perplexed him to watch this scene unfold. Here was the son of promise—the child in whom both men and angels had been hoping—about to be delivered unto death.

  He looked to Gabriel for answers, but Gabriel could offer none that would satisfy Serus’s queries. Is the Lord going to bring back Ishmael after all? Is this not the son of promise? Surely the Lord is not going to have Sarah bear yet another child. All of these questions rang through Serus’s mind as he watched God and man in dialogue. He felt pity for Abraham. And he was very sad himself.

  “When you get to the mountains of Moriah, you are to sacrifice your son as a burnt offering,” the Lord said.

  “A burnt offering?” Abraham repeated the words. “My son?”

  “Yes,” said the Lord. “At a place that I shall disclose once you are in the region of Moriah.”

  “My Lord and God,” said Abraham. “For some 50 years I have walked with You. Always You have shown Yourself a true and faithful Lord. During times of great stress You were my relief; whenever I strayed from Your trust You brought me back; when You promised me a son, You delivered a son—even in my old age and even when my wife’s w
omb was barren.

  “And now, O Lord, You ask me to give back to You in sacrifice the greatest love of my life—the very son You promised me years ago. You ask me to offer in sacrifice the person I cherish most on earth along with my wife. Lord I know that the vile nations around us offer their children to the devil god Molech. You are a righteous God and yet You ask for the life of my son. I don’t understand…”

  Abraham looked down at the bits of sinew and shavings clinging to his feet—evidence of the bow he had just made with Isaac. Even now the boy was out hunting, totally unaware that his life had been claimed by the Most High. Abraham swallowed hard, looking now at Sarah’s tent. How could he explain this to her? She had finally come to the point of trusting the God who had called her from her family in Ur. Was she now to trust that the same God had called for her son’s death?

  “Lord Most High, I don’t understand,” Abraham said, strangely feeling a surge of peace beginning to overtake his anxiety. “But this I know. If Isaac is indeed the son of promise, and if indeed You are calling me to do this, then I believe that Isaac’s destiny is assured.”

  He pulled his knife out of his belt and held it high to the Lord, the flint blade shimmering toward the heavens. “And should it come to the killing of Isaac, if that is Your will, then I believe that the promise is assured—even should You raise the boy from the dead! Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

  CHAPTER 13

  “As Isaac goes, so goes the promise.”

  Serus trailed a short distance behind Abraham’s party, which was making its way toward Moriah. Along with the father and son were two servants, and a donkey on which was the kindling for the burnt offering. Abraham and Isaac had gathered the wood themselves the day before. Abraham’s mind drifted behind to Sarah. He had told her he was taking Isaac on a three-day journey to sacrifice to the Lord. She had cautioned him to be very careful of Isaac. Abraham looked at his son, who was enjoying the adventure of exploring a region he had never before visited.

  Serus had gone on alone—Gabriel said that he must make this journey on his own. But other angels had picked up on the news and were beginning to show up at various points along the way. Many of the devils watched in disbelief as the boy of promise walked by on his way to execution. They mocked Serus as well.

  “Some guardian!” shouted one. “Save him, if you are a true angel of God.”

  “Perhaps the test is yours, Serus,” suggested another. “To see if you will be bold enough to rescue Isaac from his father’s blade!”

  Serus ignored the jeering rebels and kept a watchful eye on Isaac. For three days they continued up the sloping hills toward Moriah. When they finally arrived in the region, Abraham ordered the men to make a camp. He then told them that he and the boy would go and sacrifice to the Lord, and that they would both be back.

  “Both of them?” asked a puzzled Kara, who arrived at the last moment with Pellecus in order to watch the spectacle. “Abraham and Sarah will be sending for Ishmael within a week! You see, my plan worked after all!”

  “It’s truly an amazing thing,” said Pellecus, very puzzled by it all. “I still wonder about this whole thing. I am suspicious of the Most High.”

  “Such delicious irony,” noted Kara. “The poor boy is carrying the very wood on which he is to be sacrificed!”

  “Seems a cruel joke, I must admit,” said Pellecus. “Carrying the instrument of his own execution.”

  A crowd of devils jeered Isaac as he walked by them, carrying the bundle of wood on his shoulders. “Kill him!” they shouted, calling him all sorts of vile names.

  “I believe the Most High can share the stage for only so long,” said Kara. “And then He must act to recapture it!”

  Pellecus could only muster a “Kara, you’re a fool” look of disdain.

  “It’s true. It happened in Heaven, too. I always knew that the Lord could not stand to lose face,” Kara continued. “Obviously, the fact that all eyes were upon Isaac got the better of Him. I tell you, the Lord is no more righteous than Lucifer. They both enjoy adoration and will go to any lengths to justify it. Once Isaac is dead Lucifer can press his case and end this war on those grounds alone!”

  “Quiet,” said Pellecus. “They are beginning!”

  Isaac dropped the bundle of wood that he was carrying exactly where his father instructed him to. Abraham then put down the knife and the firepot that he was carrying and looked at his son, tears in his eyes.

  “Father, what is the matter?” asked Isaac.

  “It is time to make sacrifice, my son,” Abraham responded.

  Isaac looked about but didn’t see the usual animal.

  “The Lord Himself shall provide the sacrifice, my son,” said Abraham. He then motioned Isaac over to him and hugged him for a long time. Isaac wasn’t sure why his father was acting like this, but he remained in the embrace. At length Abraham released him.

  They began to build an altar and arrange the wood on it. Isaac was still looking about for the animal that was to be sacrificed. Abraham took a cord and began to tie up his son.

  “Father, what does this mean? You’re not going to kill me?”

  “The Lord has commanded it so,” said Abraham, beginning to weep.

  Isaac also began to weep.

  “But Father, I don’t understand!”

  “It is not ours to understand, my son,” said Abraham. He picked up the boy and lay him on top of the wood. “I love you, my son.”

  He picked the knife up and held it in his hand.

  Serus could not bear to watch what was about to happen. He turned his face from the altar. He could see the leering faces of dark spirits who had come in to watch the killing of Isaac and, hopefully, the death of a promise.

  “As Isaac goes, so goes the promise,” Kara said haughtily. “And then the prophecy will be nullified!”

  Pellecus nodded in polite agreement, but secretly wondered if that was really true.

  “There he goes!” said Kara, as Abraham raised the knife.

  “Abraham! Abraham!”

  All of the angels looked up and saw the Angel of the Lord streaking out of Heaven in a blazing light. It was the same angel who had appeared with the other two at Mamre. Abraham dropped the knife and fell to his knees. The Angel came and stood at the altar. Isaac was still trembling and wondering whom his father was talking to, since he could see and hear nobody else.

  “Do not touch the boy,” said the Angel. “For you have truly shown Me that you are a righteous man who loves Me. You did not withhold from Me your very own son!”

  Kara and Pellecus had vanished immediately upon the Angel’s arrival. Once more they were incredulous at the turn of events in this war. The other fallen angels likewise dispersed at the Angel’s presence. All who remained were Serus, Abraham, and Isaac. The two men were now weeping tears of relief. Then the Angel disappeared as well.

  “Look, Father—over there!”

  In a thicket was a fine ram, caught by its horns. Abraham untied Isaac, and together they sacrificed the ram in the name of the Lord on the very altar that had been intended for Isaac. Serus watched proudly as father and son worshiped together. He was also proud that his Lord had spared the boy of whom he had grown so fond.

  A Voice called out from Heaven, “I swear by Myself that because you have not withheld your own son, I will bless you with an uncountable heritage. You will possess great cities and all nations on earth will be blessed because you obeyed Me!”

  Serus followed the two back to the base of the hill where the servants had set up camp. He had seen a great thing today—how obedience proved greater than a sacrifice. He had seen how a man could please God by trusting Him enough to give up everything. And he had seen that the promise was alive and well—that all the world would be blessed through the seed of Abraham because he had obeyed at Moriah.

  Chronicles of the Host

  Sarah

  It is a bittersweet thing to watch the life and death of a human. Like a soft flower th
at springs forth in its glory and then disappears all too rapidly, so it is with humans, who never realize how quickly life passes until death is upon them. So it was with Sarah, who died and was buried by Abraham in a cave purchased from a local prince.

  One of Abraham’s last actions before his death was to send for a wife for Isaac from his own people in Ur. He would not have Isaac marry one of the Canaanite women. Afterwards Abraham was buried next to Sarah, and we angels remembered him as a most faithful man.

  With the birth of twins to Isaac and his wife, Rebekah, it was evident that a new phase in the building of the great nation was underway. For the word of prophecy spoken over these two brothers was that the elder brother would serve the younger. And so it was that when the children were delivered, the younger son, Jacob, grabbed the heel of his elder brother, Esau—an action that seemed to portray their relationship from that point on.

  Jacob and Esau

  Jacob was a rascal of a boy and man. With the encouragement of his mother, Rebekah, he managed to take both the birthright and the blessing of his older brother, Esau. This was puzzling to the angels, who deliberated as to how such unruly creatures carried within them the seeds of Lucifer’s destruction.

  From that very day Esau swore murderous revenge upon his brother Jacob. It would, we thought, be our mission to protect Jacob from Esau’s murderous threats. The Lord, as it turned out, had a different plan for Jacob…one which we foolish angels did not contemplate…one in which a future nation was to be born out of a great struggle with the Lord’s Angel at Mahanaim…

  Jacob watched as Laban said a tender farewell to his daughters. Leah and Rachel presented their children one by one, and Laban invoked a blessing over them. Tearfully, his eyes met the eyes of his beloved daughters, whom he would most likely never see again.

  Leah, the eldest, who had become a pawn in a treacherous bid to keep Jacob within Laban’s hire, hugged her father and wept. Memories flooded Laban’s mind: how Jacob had agreed to work seven long and difficult years for Laban in exchange for Rachel’s hand in marriage; how Laban had substituted Leah for Rachel in the wedding chamber; how Jacob then agreed to work seven more years in order to also marry Rachel; and how God had blessed Leah’s womb to bear many sons to Jacob.

 
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