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But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 NLT
When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left. Luke 23:33 NLT
"I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave." Revelation 1:18 NLT
After cleaning the dust off the scrolls and table, they were ready to read the scrolls. One of them looked considerably older than the other, though they both looked ancient.
"Let's start with the oldest one first," Devan suggested, carefully unrolling it.
"It's written in Old Language," Isabella observed. "Where's that book?"
Leif produced it from his things. "Got it right here. I knew it was a good idea to bring it."
It was laborious and time consuming, and they were impatient, but they finally had a fairly good idea of what it said.
"Wow," said Kamiko. "Let me read the whole thing now that we have all the pieces."
I am Alpha. I was the first person to exist in what was called the Age-of-Man. I was in continual relationship with the Source. I was completely happy. I was completely content and fulfilled. Others followed and soon we were a land of families living in total harmony with the Source and with each other. The flows from the Source were our food, our drink, and our shelter. We didn’t know life could be otherwise.
One day another flow came to us, similar to the flow of the Source. It came from one who called himself the ‘Pulsing.’ He told us we could be more alive than ever. All we had to do was start longing for this extra flow. We wouldn't have to give up longing for the Source, just add longing for the Pulsing. What we didn't realize was that false can appear sweeter than true. We didn’t have the ability to discern what was true without the Source. But instead of going to the Source for help we forsook truth and followed the Pulsing. No longer could we walk in perfect harmony with the Source. The flows from the Source became weaker and weaker as we were drawn farther and farther away. Eventually we lost the ability to sense any flows from the Source.
Thus began the Age-when-men-get-hungry. We became totally controlled by the Pulsing because we believed that was the only way to feed ourselves. We knew we could now die from hunger, when before, that thought never occurred to us. And from that fear of dying, Death appeared, and we began dying. What we didn’t realize was that Death had become a part of us, in each cell of our being. And Death could not exist in the presence of the Source. Thus we could not exist in the presence of the Source.
I was in despair, for I was a part of those who had brought us to this state. I was without hope. Darkness laid upon the land. And then a stranger appeared. He said he was from the Source. We believed him because he "felt" the same to those of us who had known how it was back in the time before hunger. He said the only way to remove the Death that was in us was if the Source absorbed it. And that would kill the Source.
He said not to give up because a time would come when he would return to do battle with the Pulsing. And from that battle would come a way for us to re-connect with the Source.
He said to write this down in a scroll and seal it in a vault and conceal the vault. Then the stranger disappeared and I never saw him again. I have built the vault and I have written the scroll. I, Alpha, have done as instructed.
The four were silent for a long time, each lost in thought. Each was keenly aware of just how badly mankind had blown it.
Finally Devan said, "Well, let's decipher the other one."
They wondered what it would reveal. It couldn’t be worse than the one they had just read. At least it had ended on a possible positive note. The Stranger had given hope. Wasn't that the first step? Hope was everything. If that could be restored it would allow for more hope. And more hope.
Buoyed by that thought, they set to work on the second scroll. When done, Kamiko again offered to read the complete scroll.
My name isn’t important. What is important is that the Stranger has come as he said he would. And he has battled the Pulsing. The Pulsing didn’t recognize the Stranger was of the Source. The Stranger allowed the Pulsing to kill him, not realizing that in so doing, the Pulsing was providing a way for us to re-connect with the Source. The Stranger took our Death into himself.
No longer can the Pulsing stop the Source from drawing men and women. We now can sense the Source. It is a pulling. The Source is calling us to come back. To come back into relationship. There is still much interference, but it is now possible. I was one of those who answered that pull.
In a wonderful and miraculous way the Source brought life back to the Stranger, and before leaving, the Stranger said he would appear again when the Age-when-men-get-hungry draws to a close. But in the meantime, we are to help as many as we can to answer the pulling from the Source. And I, personally, was told the location of this vault and that I was to add a second scroll of what has happened with this second appearance of the Stranger. This I have done.
They were stunned.
"So let me get this straight," Devan said. "The Stranger had to die for me to have the Pull to respond to? And the Stranger is also the Source, so somehow the Source killed the Source?"
They tried to comprehend what type of love would be willing to die for them.
"Maybe that's why we were willing to be agents," Kamiko ventured.
The Longing in each of them rose up strongly to see the re-appearance of the Stranger as forecast in the scroll. Their love for him grew even greater.
"If this was our only purpose in coming on this journey it would be worth it," Isabella said.
Many moments passed as they read and re-read the words of the scrolls.
Outside came the howl of a wolf. Each of them stiffened.
Devan stuck his head out the vault, then back in quickly. "A lot of guys with guns are out there," he reported. "And they aren't smiling. Goons if I had to guess."
"They must have come from the Pulsing," Leif said, drawing his gun.
"Wait," Devan announced, sticking his head out again. "One of them has put away his gun and is walking this way with his hands outstretched. I think he wants to talk."
Leif and Devan walked out a few steps to meet him. They had their guns trained on him.
"Put those away," he said. "You wouldn't stand a chance anyway. Someone wants to talk to you. If you come with me I can assure you you will be safe. Then you can come back here or anyplace you wish."
Leif and Devan went back into the vault. "I don't trust them," Leif said, "but it makes sense the Pulsing wants to know what we are up to. My guess is we are safe enough."
They were escorted to a waiting plane. As they left the vault, the door closed on its own. While the plane was on its way, the four talked.
"Where are we going?" Isabella wondered.
"Won't hurt to ask," Leif responded.
"Hey," he yelled to the pilot, "where are we headed?"
The pilot ignored him. Leif turned to the others and shrugged his shoulders. Each was lost in their thoughts. Meeting the Pulsing on his turf was a sobering thought, especially after their encounters in the Land of Death. He might kill them as soon as they landed.
"What do we tell him?" Kamiko asked.
"The truth," Leif answered.
They were silent the rest of the way. After several hours, the plane circled and descended. The four had no idea where they were. The tundra had given way to fields and forests.
They landed on a small private landing strip next to a great mansion, one of the grandest houses any of them had ever seen. They were herded into a small room and told to wait. They sat and waited, slightly nervous. Before long the door opened and in walked a man they hadn’t expected to ever see again. It was the man from the Cave of Truly Truth, handsome and well dressed as ever.
"You?" Leif exclaimed.
"I understand your surprise," the man said. "I’m not the ogre you think I am. Let me show you around and you’ll see."
In a surreal tour, the man led them to rooms filled with happy, smiling people. Outside there was swimming and tennis. Everyone looked happy, but Leif thought he detected something otherwise behind the happy faces. He wondered what the man was up to, and how he figured into all this.
"Is this what an ogre would encourage?" the man asked. "I want to bring a better life to people. I want them to be happy. Why can't you see that?"
"Well," Isabella answered, "maybe it was because none of this brought us lasting happiness."
"Maybe you need to loosen up. Live a little," the man responded, leading them back into the room they had started from.
I guess the tour is over, Leif thought. Now for the real reason we are here.
"I know you were in the vault. May I ask why you were there?"
Leif knew their best defense was the truth. "The Stranger told us to go," he said.
At the word "Stranger" the man frowned. "And what did you find?"
"Why do you want to know?" Leif asked.
"It’s nothing more than a trifling to me. I was merely curious."
"I don't believe you," Leif replied. "I think you are worried and very much want to know what we found. But I'm going to tell you anyway. We found scrolls that said the Stranger kicked the Pulsing's butt once and that he will appear again, probably to kick butt again."
The others were a little surprised to hear Leif talk that way. If the man was, too, he didn't show it. Instead, he turned pale.
"Did it say when he would appear?" the man demanded.
"At the end of the Age-when-men-get-hungry," Leif replied.
"No definite date?" the man asked with what sounded to Leif like fear.
"No, but I personally think it will be soon."
The man took a step back as though hit. Composing himself, his countenance darkened.
"He did not defeat me! He tricked me. I'll be ready for him if he comes again. Now get out of here!"
The Pulsing shouted for his goons. "Get them out of my sight!"
They were quickly ushered out of the mansion and back to the airstrip. The goons were nervous.
"That was interesting," Leif remarked once they were in the air. "But I have no idea what we were sent here to accomplish."
"Well, now we know the cave man and the Pulsing are one and the same," Kamiko mused. "And I think the Stranger wanted to fire a shot across his bow, so to speak. To show who is really in charge; to let him know his days are numbered. And we know so much more about the Stranger!"
"I hope we’re ready for it," Isabella stated. "The end days could be hard on us, too."
They contemplated these words, the scrolls, and the wonder of the Stranger as the plane took them home.