Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor
Volume XI, Issue XXVI
Battle in the Heavenlies
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.
I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;
Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:
His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.
And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.
Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.
Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.
And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.
And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.
And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength.
For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.
Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,
And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.
Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.
But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince. -- Daniel 10
The Eagle is right,” said the Lord Digory. “The Narnia you’re thinking of . . . was only a shadow or a copy of the real Narnia, which has always been here and always will be here: just as our own world, England and all, is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan’s real world. You need not mourn over Narnia, Lucy. All of the old Narnia that mattered, all the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the Door. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream.” . . . The new [Narnia] was a deeper country: every rock and flower and blade of grass looked as if it meant more. I can’t describe it any better than that: if you ever get there, you will know what I mean. It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He . . . cried: “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.” -- C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle
Mátyás Corvinus stood before the Master by a still pool. The Master patted the nose of his faithful white horse, his companion in battle and now in Eternal rule. There was peace at last. Indeed those assembled before the Magnificent One had seen much service. They, to a man, would have laughed at the notion so popularized in cartoons of Heaven's inhabitants idly sitting on clouds and playing harps. Even the very young were engaged in adventures! Little Lucy had stepped into this magical world and joined hands with Kris' daughter. It was like they were finally able to step into the painting that they both loved and off they went to pat the noses of magical creatures. The colors were more vivid than Lucy remembered in the little painting and it seemed that your eyes were now able to see more colors (which indeed they were).
Claudia and Kris followed after their children. It was the best play date ever and there was apparently no time limit. Joe, the old trucker, watched as his beloved granddaughter Kate joined in and then he shook off his adult sensibilities and joined in too! He and Willa even rolled happily down a green hill together. Their love for each other, like the colors of this place, had grown so much deeper! The world was what it should be! The great warriors rejoiced at the restored wonder of all creation! Mátyás Corvinus stood shoulder to shoulder with people like Paul the Apostle, Deborah and contemporaries such as Rupert Zimmerman and the Greenes. Their stories intermingled in the winning of the great war... the war for the destiny of mankind!
Yes, the battle had been won decisively in the Master's Death and Resurrection, but indeed the battle had raged on as Darkness slowly was pushed back and the Nations were taken for the Kingdom of Righteousness. In human time, a Millennium had passed. In Eternity, one saw finally the scope of the Divine's work in history and none of the descriptions or arguments one finds in human writings did it justice. Evil had been banished to the Lake of Fire!
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. -- Hebrews 12:1-3
Here were the 'Great Cloud of Witnesses.' Many were recognizable from Hebrews 11, the hall of Faith, but there were many more added to their number as well. The man Mátyás Corvinus had known as 'Ransom' stood in their company. He was surrounded by many who were part of the Great Story.
A great war that had raged for centuries was now done. Now the great stories became part of the record of Eternal history. The blood and stench of death were gone, but the heroic acts could now be celebrated and remembered. All listened intently to hear the Master's "Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant!" Since Eternity has no limits but books theirs, we can but share a few of the highlights.
The Smiling Boy
There was a wild young man in Seoul, Korea once. His name was Lee Jong-Rak. [1.] He had to flee his rural village because of his wild reputation, but he was apprehended by Divine love and became a follower of the way. Eventually he became a Pastor. He and his wife had a daughter, then a son. The boy was one who you would call severely disabled. His mind never developed and he required constant care. The young Pastor became involved in the routine, clearing his breathing passage and tenderly working with his disabled child. Though there was no hope given by the doctors that he would get any response, eventually the boy learned to smile! The learning of how to smile was quite heroic, and the Master's smile was seen at the telling.
But there is more. The young boy became a man. He never was able to rise from his bed, but his smile inspired this little Pastor to become a rescuer of abandoned babies. In that society, so obsessed with performance and perfection, Mothers of handicapped babies would sometimes simply leave their babies in the streets to die. Pastor, who had been taught by his son to see IMAGO DEI rescued thousands of them, adopting some of the most severe himself.
One of his young charges, abandoned because he was missing some fingers, became a leader in his school. Eventually he became the leader of Korea and he brought about much needed reform and his life inspired a revival of Faith in the Korean people. He bravely took up the cause of the Christians persecuted in the North and his relentless advocacy eventually resulted in the reunification of his country.
In the earliest days of the Christian church, child abandonment was a problem too. Unwanted children were simply cast into the Tiber River in ancient Rome. Understanding the preciousness of human life, the Faithful pulled as many of these young souls as they could from the water and raised them as their own. Pastor Lee Jong-Rak's story was added to thousands more, each of them celebrating the Truth that man is created in the image of G-d according to the Holy Scriptures. Each life is precious. Pastor Lee's son was a teacher of that truth!
The Faithful Mothers
Susanna Wesley was one of 25 children, but she and her husband Samuel had nineteen! Though only eight of them would outlive her, Mrs. Wesley's influence she invested her life in each child and they in turn would bless the world. Her husband left her, but she continued to care for her children and was their main educator. She wrote to her husband:
I am a woman, but I am also the mistress of a large family. And though the superior charge of the souls contained in it lies upon you, yet in your long absence I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my charge as a talent committed to me under a trust. I am not a man nor a minister, yet as a mother and a mistress I felt I ought to do more than I had yet done. I resolved to begin with my own children; in which I observe the following method: I take such a proportion of time as I can spare every night to discourse with each child apart. On Monday I talk with Molly, on Tuesday with Hetty, Wednesday with Nancy, Thursday with Jacky, Friday with Patty, Saturday with Charles."
Her house burned down and she had to send her children away for a time. Her husband was often gone. Though he returned after the initial dispute. She, out of her own devotion to her Creator, began to host Sunday afternoon meetings and was much like the Biblical Priscilla. She wrote extended commentaries on the Apostles Creed, the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments. Human history remembers her sons John and Charles, but here in the halls of Faith, a remembrance is made to a Faithful Mother!
Many more Faithful Mothers' stories were told and remembered. Now their many tears were turned to precious jewels! Their crowns were radiant with the light from them.
The Unseen Encouragers
Then the Master recounted the stories of those who saw and encouraged those around them. These were the stories that often went untold but one must indeed remember that they are foundations to the stories that are told! Here Mátyás would meet the Greenes and 'Queen Lucy' as they stood together with their old friend 'Ransom.' Indeed they shared in the work of encouraging those in their company. Mátyás still wondered when the stories of great battles and mighty kings would be told. To be sure, their stories intermingled with the Great Story too.
The Mighty Warriors
His attention was fixed on the Master as The Magnificent One began to tell the stories of those who were considered mighty in battle in His Kingdom. Tiny ladies who prayed in obscurity more often than not, THEY were the force that brought focus to the work of the Divine Spirit. In human history few knew their names but in the Great Story each became a beautiful chapter. Their fellow warriors were the mighty servants of the Master and Mátyás saw how those considered 'powerful' in the old world were often nothing more than a tool in the hand of the Master, while such obscure Saints enjoyed true freedom and significance.
Mátyás was thankful that he had discovered this great truth in time and had entered the Great Story as well. Now he saw the company of the Martyrs, those who had chosen death rather than deny the Great Master. There was Stephen and Paul, along with Abdul the Turk and his family. [2.] There were many who had been cruelly murdered by 'the enforcers.' Some were victims of Mátyás' own decree, yet they were now joined with him in admiration of the Magnificent One.
The only signs of the great battle that remained, however, were the scarred hands and feet of the Master. Heaven had reached down in Selfless Love to rescue humankind. Now the choirs of Heaven sang of His mighty and brave adventure. The Story stirred the entire being!, but now it was time to enter into the Great Story of Eternity! Eternity had written itself on every heart present and all eyes looked up to Eternity's Golden Light!
One often wondered what you remembered in Heaven and what you forgot. Now it was clear that knowledge had only GROWN. Knowledge of the Magnificent One filled places in your being that you didn't know needed to be filled. Indeed one could remember as but a cloudy dream, things from the past. Earth had been remade in a fiery rebirth. One knew that, but it was rather like the time Rupert Zimmerman (builder of the great bridge) had read the words 'Citizen, Soldier, Educator' on that statue in a college quadrangle. The man so referenced had also lost a leg in battle, but here on the quadrangle there was no smoke, no pain, no blood, only the peaceful light through the trees and the memory of a life that had been lived... no man's life is totally well-lived, but that is the part that remains vivid in the memory. In fact, Mátyás saw this man and Rupert Zimmerman, warrior and bridge builder, strolling together in a deep and animated discussion. Here were two old soldiers who had ultimately found themselves participants in a greater battle... that for the rescue of humankind by the Master.
History was remembered, but the Master of History had made it His Story. There were indeed some who were not here that one had known in the Old Earth. Their lives were not forgotten, but they were remembered in the context of the Magnificent One's patience, "Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Indeed, one was aware of how the Magnificent One had wooed them. The Magnificent One wiped away tears; and His presence so filled you, that somehow you were made whole.
But now something new was about to happen. "Come!" said the voice Mátyás had first heard speak to his heart on the tarmac in Syria. Now on the Hillsides of a New Earth, all were gathered as the Great Jerusalem came down to join the Earth... "as a bride adorned for her Husband."
Behold, I make all things new."
Now that light that had first filtered through the trees was seen to have its origin from within the Great Jerusalem that descended. If you think of the finest feast of celebration you have ever enjoyed, the best family or church picnic on a beautiful day; you will come closer, but nowhere close to the feeling of this time when mankind sat down to enjoy a shared meal with the Magnificent One at the end of the world... or was this the BEGINNING?, yes, I believe that is a more truthful observation; and that, dear reader, is the one I will leave you with
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