Unholy Empire: Chronicles of the Host, Vol 2: Chronicles of the Host, Book 2, page 33
The people had assembled for what they knew was Moses’ final address to them as their leader. They knew that Joshua was the appointed successor who would take them into the Promised Land. He had their confidence and their blessing. But for now, all eyes were upon the man who had led them out of captivity in Egypt, and who was about to leave them on the edge of Canaan.
Moses stood before the people, who honored him now as the revered “old man” of Israel. He leaned on a staff to support himself, although he was still strong of body and mind. With Joshua at his side, he spoke to the Israelites for the last time:
“It is time for me to be gathered to my fathers,” he began. “I shall not cross over with you because of my sin against the Lord at Meribah. But Joshua, son of Nun, shall take you into the land. Follow him, for he is anointed of the Lord, and the Spirit of God is upon him.
“The Lord has been faithful to His covenant. If you abide in His law, you shall be blessed; if you disobey His decrees, you shall be cursed. Therefore trust in the Lord your God and learn of Him. Establish His word in your hearts and never let it escape.
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is one God! Therefore, love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. Fear the Lord your God and serve Him and be careful to do all that He commands of you! Today the Lord sets before you life and prosperity, or death and destruction. Therefore, choose life!”
“Choose life,” sneered Kara. “Not very fitting for a man about to die.”
“Kara, you are a fool,” said Pellecus. “Moses has no fear of death. In fact, I’m sure he welcomes a reprieve from the burden of this people who devours its leaders.”
Lucifer remained silent, listening to the banter of his leaders as they sat near the Dead Sea to discuss the future conduct of the war. Rugio also sat silent, thinking about how the war must take a different direction with the people about to enter the land. A messenger suddenly appeared and spoke with Lucifer. The others waited to see what news had just come to their lord.
“It seems that Moses is about to die,” he said. “On Mount Nebo. The Lord, in His sentimental cruelty, will allow the old man to see the land that he labored to bring the nation to, although he still may not enter into it. I sometimes believe that we have more compassion for His people than He does!”
“Moses dead,” said Kara. “That will be a relief!”
“I only wish I had been able to tear him to pieces,” said Rugio. “Even to degrade his body would give me great satisfaction!”
Upon those words, Lucifer suddenly seemed to be inspired.
“What was that, Rugio?” he asked.
“I said I would like to take Moses’ body and desecrate it in front of Israel,” he said. “Or tear it to pieces.”
“Maybe burn it in front of them,” threw in Kara, who was now interested in the conversation. “They always did want to see him destroyed!”
“What are you thinking, my lord?” asked Pellecus.
“I am thinking that Moses will indeed die on Nebo, but will miraculously return to lead the people again. Only this time he will lead them quite differently.”
Michael escorted Moses up the mountain that overlooked the land of promise. Moses had said all of his farewells, and was prepared now to die. Joshua had been ordained the new leader in Israel and commissioned by Moses to take the people into Canaan. Moses had done all of the difficult things that God had called him to do. Now he could do a joyous thing by passing from this life into God’s Presence forever.
Michael was going to miss the old man. He had grown quite fond of watching over him, from the time he was a baby in the ark until now. But it was the reality of service in God’s kingdom that humans came and went, but angels must continue on.
Moses stood to look over the land. He praised the Most High for the beautiful place that Joshua was now going to take the people into. And he was satisfied. He could now die in peace and be buried with his fathers. It was time. Michael watched Moses die a peaceful, painless death—a truly saintly passing. Michael bowed his head for just a moment in honor of this great man.
“Well, well. Loyal to the end I see!”
It was Lucifer.
“What are you doing here?” asked Michael.
“Come now, Michael. Your mission is finished here,” retorted Lucifer. “Now be gone and find yourself a new Moses. I’m sure that Joshua will need your help in taking the land.”
“My mission is finished here when the Lord releases me,” said Michael. “Again I ask you—what are you doing here, Lucifer?”
“I am here to claim what is rightfully mine,” said Lucifer.
“Moses’ body, of course,” said Lucifer matter-of-factly.
“You have no claim upon Moses’ body,” said Michael.
“Ah, but I do,” said Lucifer. “Remember that when the fool A’dam turned authority of this world over to me, he also transferred to me the power of death and the grave. So you see, I have a legitimate claim upon this body!”
“You dishonor even death with your appetite for wickedness. The Lord rebuke you, Lucifer,” said Michael resolutely.
Upon those words, Lucifer was thrown backwards off Nebo. He came roaring back but stopped short of either Moses or Michael. Then, collecting himself, he said: “Very well. Keep that rotting bit of flesh. But mark me, archangel. One day you shall see that my claim upon death is quite real!” He then disappeared off Nebo.
Michael stayed on guard until the Lord Himself selected a site where Moses was buried. His grave was never found—by men or by angels. Michael’s assignment to Moses was completed, and he returned to other duties for the Lord.
Chronicles of the Host
So it was that Israel pitched camp at the Jordan, opposite Canaan, and awaited Joshua’s command to enter the land. For his part, Joshua ordered a period of mourning following the death of Moses, after which the people would begin their invasion of Canaan.
For the Host, it was the beginning of a new chapter in the life of the nation God had created to bless the entire world. So much was at stake…and so much might finally come to fruition!
As for our enemies, seething and wounded from years of warfare, they found themselves for the first time having to defend the land that was once Abraham’s homeland. Like the nations that awaited the coming invaders in fear and confusion, so the enemy awaited the Israelite onslaught. When and where the attack would come was not known. But everyone knew it was only a matter of time…
On the other side of the Jordan, Lucifer sat with the Council of Seven, the key leaders who governed areas stretching across the entire planet. As they looked at Israel on the other side of the river, the mood was not good. They had met to sum up the progress of the war to that time. In the end they concluded that there had been some modest success in delaying the people of God in the wilderness, which meant that they could prepare for the next generation of Israelites while waiting for this one to die off.
“I grow weary of always having to deal with some sort of trouble with the Hebrews,” said Prian. “In my domain we simply declare the emperor to be the Son of Heaven and are done with it!”
“Your domain is far removed from the critical aspects of this war,” said Kara. “We have been fighting the true war since it began!”
“Don’t let your oriental responsibilities lull you into thinking that you are immune from the war’s reach,” reminded Lucifer. “That is a word to all seven of you. True, the war itself has been contained to the area around the people of covenant. But each of you has a stake in its outcome. Our very survival depends upon our ability to wage a war that will at least force the Lord to compromise His position.”
“We don’t have the luxury you have, of a people already deceived and steeped in their own deception,” lectured Kara. “We must fight an intense effort here and if that means deceiving humans—through trickery as you call it—then that is what must happen.”
“Enough of this,” said Lucifer. “The point is that I have come to a realization, as distasteful as it might seem.”
They all looked at Lucifer, awaiting his words.
“I have determined that we shall never best the Lord outright. I saw that in the contest in Egypt. The Lord is too powerful for us to defeat…”
“Then the war is lost!” said Belron.
“We cannot defeat the Lord,” continued Lucifer. “But we can defeat his people.”
“Are they not one and the same?” asked Lenaes.
“Not at all,” said Lucifer. “The Lord has created a people and given them a law. Our task is to deceive the people and encourage their constant breaking of that law—something which they seem to do by nature anyway.”
“We will defeat the Lord by applying His own law?” asked Kara, who was suddenly interested in the discussion.
“Exactly,” said Lucifer. “So long as these people are under the law of Moses, they shall never be in pure covenant with the Lord. Why? Because they cannot possibly keep the law. The very law that God gave them to draw them into covenant, will be the very instrument that we shall use to keep them out of covenant…”
“Consequently, this constant breaking of the law will keep the Seed of the woman from ever becoming an issue that can be used against us,” surmised Pellecus.
“Yes,” said Lucifer, standing. “I once said that love would cost the Most High everything! I said that one day the Lord would pay a terrible price for His love. And that is what has happened. It was for love that He gave them the law. And it will now be the law that will cost Him their love.”
“And Israel?” asked Kara.
Lucifer looked upon the campfires across the Jordan, dotting the blackness like the stars in the heavens. He thought of the prophecy given to Abraham that starry night when the Lord compared his future descendants to the stars in the sky.
“Israel? She shall become a nation of priests and prophets who touched upon greatness…but never achieved it. Who came close to the Lord, but in the end never really knew Him. Who looked to God but never saw Him. And in the end, they shall be a people who, having abandoned their God, will likewise be abandoned by Him. This I swear!”
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D. Brian Shafer, Unholy Empire: Chronicles of the Host, Vol 2: Chronicles of the Host, Book 2