When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.”

The Naked Brave

Where was the First Heaven of the Four that eventually were created? That could never be a necessary question. It was created, and the place of it was the center of all Creation. As first fruits of the Creation, this Heaven was God’s own paradise. It required of the Godhead the greatest condescension for Him to stoop down and look upon it, evenso. What was in it? What was its dimension and shape? How long did it exist alone before it was joined by a Second Heaven, then a Third? Why wasn’t the First Heaven sufficient, or, rather, why was it joined by a Second and Third and a Fourth?

There can be no meaning or context for these questions aside from the central Event of all eternity and all temporal time--the Crucifixion of the Son. If Eternity is a more-than-forever-ness, then the linear time, which was invented, was but a moment’s “interruption” in comparison with it. “When,” then did the Crucifixion occur? In a moment of time, technically, the moment that was the whole of temporality, but in a real sense the Crucifixion had always existed, since Eternity had always known about it, at least in the Mind of God. It was the Father’s foreknowledge, the Father’s great Dream, and in the fullness of Time and Eternity it transpired in reality, though it had always existed in Eternity. In the same way all the beings ever created in the heavens and on the Earths had been foreknown. They too, in the Mind of the Godhead, had always existed. There was never a moment or space in which God had not known of them all, and known them individually.

Endlessness seemingly came to an end with the creation of Temporality, but, in truth, it did not. Temporality ran alongside of Eternity for a brief, very brief moment. Then it blinked back out of existence, leaving Eternity to continue as it always had.

The contradiction is not that Temporality would exist, like a fragile bubble appearing and then vanishing forever, but that God had predetermined to become what He was not--a creature. He had to do that in order to fulfill his Master Design, to become man but no less God, and to remain God while he lived no less a man. His Plan would not work perfectly otherwise.

He foresaw the rebellion of his first creatures, led by the Light-Bringer, or Lucifer, which doomed him and one third of the servants of heaven. He foreknew the subsequent rebellion of his terrestrial creatures, Adam and Eve, which doomed their race. He created animals without the image of God, and they did not rebel, having no capacity to do so, but they would suffer hideously too from the fall of the two higher dominions, the angelic and the human. He cared for the animals too. He cared for the Earths, finally, which to His senses groaned under the weight of angelic and human sin, death, and constant spilling of blood.

God foreknew all. That was His whole strategy. He foreknew and He made provision for what would be needed to realize His grand design of reclaiming what was His. Yet the Godhead took pleasure in hiding Himself. Providence was not always apparent. In fact, in times of dire need of God’s assistance, it quite often seemed that God was no where involved or even cared about what was transpiring on His very doorstep. At least that was how it seemed to the main contestants, those who were loyal to the God of All, and those who favored a change in adminstration headed by the great Light-Bringer.

Rebellion in the courts of heaven itself! Imagine that! It was unthinkable, yet it was happening before the eyes of all. What to do? How was so eminent and clever a personage as the Light-Bringer to be opposed and defeated? Michael and Gabriel, at first, hadn’t the slightest idea. They weren’t warriors, they were servants of God, attending the Divine Will in His inner Courts. They had never been obliged to fight for the Godhead before, since there had never been any opposition. Now that all of heaven seemed poised on the brink of anarchy and revolution, it really seemed to them that God had gone away, leaving the heavens to the enemy, and for some reason wasn’t speaking, while the Light-Bringer was speaking constantly to all of higher Creation, marshalling allies and organizing his forces for the final taking of the Throne itself.

The time of that feared event came just as Michael and Gabriel and their ranks knew it would. All heaven’s hosts, seemingly, trooped to the banner of the Light-Bringer as he made his way irresistably toward the Throneroom of the Second Heaven. Apparently, his strategy was to seize the Second, then mount an attack on the First, which no creature except, perhaps, the four cherubim-beasts, had ever seen, and from there he could rule with impunity, sending forces out to take the third and the fourth heavens.

The Godhead, it appeared, was checkmated and even superseded, grown redundant and moribund and too ancient in days, lacking all will to resist what the majority wanted. A vigorous new day, a new world order, had dawned, and the wonderful Light-Bringer had ushered it into existence.

How could anyone have guessed the changeover would be so easy? Lucifer entered the Second Heaven and took the Throne without any problem whatsoever. Even the guardian beasts had vanished into, presumably, sanctuary in the First Heaven. As for the undefended Second, he simply walked in and took his seat. But there was much work to be done. Having accomplished this great feat, he was anxious to gain more advantage by maintaining his momentum and not falling back on this first, rather easy success.

Should he strike at the First as he had planned? He would have done so, but he simply couldn’t locate its portal. Not willing to betray his ignorance to inferiors, he decided it could wait a bit, and then turned to the Third Heaven. This heaven was very visible and pleasing to the eye, moreso than the Second, because it afforded him so many opportunities of rule, possessing as it did the greatest number and ranks of heavenly servants--who were now his servants, he reminded himself.

Of course, he knew there remained pockets of irrational, unreasoning resistance, headed by the troublesome Michael and Gabriel and their cohorts. He might have to subdue them with force, he decided, if they could not be persuaded to listen to sense and reason. But he wasn’t at all concerned that they would present any great difficulty, since he had confronted the Godhead Himself and supplanted Him on His own throne!

Thinking these things, assured in most every instance that the wave of circumstance and momentum was sweeping the last vestiges of the ancien regime away before him, Lucifer proceeded in glorious array, with innumerable attendants, toward the great prize of the Second Heaven, the Celestial City. The Second Heaven’s Stones of Fire, naturally, went with him, for they wouldn’t stay in the Garden of God outside the Throneroom, the garden where he had once been their Keeper for age upon age. The Royal Jewels, the Sardius, Topaz, Beryl, Diamond, Onyx, Jasper, Goldstone, Sapphire, Emerald, and Carbuncle, had become attracted to him like he was a magnet, and he was overjoyed to think they were his servants too, joining his powers with their own, which no one had really yet explored and utilized as he now planned. With them in his camp he was well-assured he could put down anything a few diehards like Michael and Gabriel and Palmoni and his silly little “ numbering” troop could muster.

But what about this thing, “ Crucifixion”? The Light-Bringer had gotten wind of it, and he had given it some thought, of course. Whatever it meant, it was superseded by his own advent. He thought he could count on that. It was such a strange idea, in any case. He could not really credit the Godhead with it, since Godhead couldn’t die, could He? Since it had never happened, it never would, in Lucifer’s estimation. And if there were any signs that something like it was going to happen, he would stamp them out of existence. Imagine! he thought. A Crucified Godhead? To what purpose? Why should the Godhead harm Himself? It was absurd! Totally absurd! No thinking being could resonably entertain such a notion. He had thought God was outworn, but not that senescent!

Consequently, having decided on the idea, Lucifer devoted little time to worrying about it. He had much better things to do as the Superseder of the old Godhead, and the Harbinger of the New Age.

A sack of gold in a secret place is better than four comely wives riding to market on white camels to shop and spend all your living.

A sack of gold, hid deep under your tent, O chief, is better than four swift camels waiting to wing you to safety from your enemies, enemies whose camels may well be swifter than yours.

Your neighbor’s sack of gold is always smaller than yours, O rich man, so build your garden wall high and get a good watchdog so you can sleep at night.

Homely proverbs, spun from human experience and cunning in ages to come, contained a gleaming nugget of truth--whatever was held in reserve might well preserve the owner in the end better than anything else he might pride himself on. What could be the Godhead’s reserve for a rainy day, His “sack of gold”? Unfortunately for Lucifer’s cause, cunning as he was, he didn’t have such adages available at his fingertips, and so he did not find out in time that God, first, put prudently away something even better than a sack of gold for staying the course to Victory in a coming dark and troubled time.

The glorious caravan of the new administration, lit by the indescribable sparkle and colors of the Stones of Fire arching overhead, stopped before the main gate of the Celestial City. The other two gates on that side, he ignored. Once installed in the City upon the Throne, he would declare himself Sovereign God of Heaven and Eternity, and that would be it! No one would place his crown upon his head. He would do himself the honor.

The new Supreme Extraordinaire Potentate, Lucifer, sent forth Pi and Abo and Hayithi, chief emissaries extraordinaire, to announce his coming to take up residence. No matter that the City was not quite finished, he had decided to complete it himself, to his own taste. The three strode boldly forward, holding their jewel-crowned scepters, exciting awe and envy all through the ranks of lesser grades as they went up to the gate. A stickler for detail of dress and bearing, the Light-Bringer had seen to it that anyone who represented him was magnificent in appearance, for it reflected on his own glory how his personal adjutants and honor guard and envoys appeared to the masses of lower beings.

Though busy conferring with aides-de-camp and Beelzebub his charge d'affaires on this matter and that, Lucifer could see that Michael and Gabriel had joined the twelve guardians at the gate. What reason could they have joining them? It was not their business! Lucifer thought. Or if they had not come to meddle, then they had seen the light and were instructing the guardians to open the gate without any delay.

Lucifer, brushing aside further pressing business, turned his full gaze on the gate and the figures standing before it with flaming swords that turned every way. Such swords were purely ceremonial, Lucifer knew, since they had never been used against heavenly beings, and their use, he reasoned, was just for pomp and show--the Godhead’s vanity, again, being displayed to all his inferiors! Besides, Lucifer knew he was eternal, so what could a little sword of pretty flame do to him? Absolutely nothing!

What could possibly stop Lucifer anyway from his objective, taking command of the City of the Great King? It was, he had declared to all, his own royal headquarters. He was only right in coming to claim what was his property. The defunct, old Godhead had forfeited it, having never finished the thing, and so new power and new wisdom were required to do the project justice. Only he, the Light-Bringer, possessed that power and wisdom in sufficiency to complete the City properly, after the old Godhead had shown himself impotent and incapable. Because the old redundant Godhead had little imagination, the City lacked the grand trumphal arches, processionals, and immense public squares that could accommodate the parades and spectacles planned by the new administration. Lucifer, therefore, was eager to get started on the remodeling. What an impression he would make by striding between mile-high images of himself, set up by the thousand, all along his approach to the Throne! And along with the images there would be beasts of great beauty and terror following in his train. As for the Stones of Fire, they would be part of his glory, of course, and would form the canopy over his head. What a wonderful God he would make when seen in this way--totally unlike the old Godhead who preferred to hide amidst smoke, cloud, and thunder, probably because he was devoid of any corporeal being and needed to clothe himself with whatever was at hand.

Lucifer noted, however, Michael had not budged, and the gate still remained closed. What? he wondered. Was there a problem?

Amazed, but still smiling to his puzzled and bewildered aides-de-camp, Lucifer waited for his ambassadors to return with news of the parley with Michael, Gabriel, and Palmoni. But he found he could not wait. The envoys’ faces all betrayed a most unwelcome expression of dismay and--was it unadulterated, stark terror?

“Fools, don’t they have any intelligence?” Lucifer thought, maintaining his brilliant, victory smile but shifting uncomfortably in his golden chair. He would have to go himself and fix the matter. And he would fix it! After that, he’d appoint more worthy representatives to speak his majesty’s wishes.

Without letting his disgraced aides throw themselves down and beg to say one word, the Light-Bringer made a sign to proceed, and the immense golden litter carried by thousands of praising and worshiping servants went forward toward the gate, sweeping aside the failed plenipoteniaries as if they were only three autumn leaves cast aside by a great wind.

Something odd began to happen the moment Lucifer came close enough to speak face to face with Michael and his supporters. The shadow of the gate, which had never been seen before, appeared and spread outwards, falling upon the light and splendor of the Light-Bringer and his whole entourage.

Wonderment spread quickly through the vast numbers of closely-packed attendants. Lucifer, brushing aside the distraction, turned to the matter at hand: the opening of the gate.

Without his envoys, he addressed Michael directly.

Smiling though he noted that Michael failed to acknowledge his lordship with even the slightest bow, a lordship that all heaven had gladly and publicly acknowledged, Lucifer said to him, “My dear friend, I have come, and I am happy to see you have bowed to reason and the glad occasion of my homecoming and done us the honor of seeing that my entrance is properly conducted. Will you open to me now, friend, or should I? I have only to give command, and these my beloved and faithful--”

A deafening roar went up from the assembled camp of Lucifer. They all could see that Michael’s band was pitifully small, and there was no stopping the Light-Bringer from taking all of heaven in his golden, jeweled and perfumed hand.

But Michael’s stern countenance did not waver. “Who is like God? For whom in the heavens can be compared to the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the Lord? Who--”

“I’m glad to see you’re coming round at last and are open to reason!” Lucifer interrupted, treating the questions as a settled fact in his favor. “Now what do you have to say to my coming in? Open the gate at once, or I shall open it.”

The Lord God of hosts rebuke you,” Michael replied quietly.

“What?” Lucifer thought aloud. “What did you say?”

Michael’s voice carried forth more boldly. “The Lord God of hosts rebuke you.”

The shadow that had just fallen over Lucifer from the closed gate now seemed to turn chill and draughty with stabbing gusts of frosty air.

Stung by the implied insult, Lucifer’s own chin went up a notch higher, and his lips curled as his hands clenched on both his scepters. He was about to say something particularly cutting and then order his followers to march against the gate when Michael did something even more unexpected and impolitic, crying out, “Glory to God in the highest! Give praise to Him!”

Instantly, Michael’s band erupted in praise to God, and the praises carried across the entire assembly of Lucifer’s.

The multitude wavered and fell back upon each other as if they had been slapped by a mighty, unseen hand. Not only had they been rebuked, but the high praises of God, shouted across wide heaven, struck like daggers in the hearts of the Luciferans, inciting terror, confusion, and panic. Some of Lucifer’s most powerful supporters essayed a rival praise, but it withered and died on their grimacing lips as the floor crumbled, lurched, and gave way beneath their feet.

Lucifer, feeling his traveling platform tip precipitously, wondered what was happening. His followers, one and all, were fast darkening in the Great Shadow of the gate, shrinking too in size, and--wonder of wonders! the great Lucifer fell!

His golden heel struck the floor of heaven, and then a tremendous crack sounded, as the floor split outwards from contact with his foot.

Rearing away from the rapidly widening fissure, Lucifer lost both scepters, which plunged through the gaping hole and tumbled away into empty space.

But these were but the first upsets and losses of the accident.

The Crack of Doom became a vast chasm in moment, engulfing all those who were not quick to elude it by sucking them down in. Stampeding back away, the followers of Lucifer sought safety in wide heaven, but meanwhile Michael had opened the gate. Myriads of faithful servants of the Most High now poured forth, and they ran round the fleeing masses, joined arm to arm and encircling them above and around with the yawning black hole in the center.

Hidden in the Celestial City, held in reserve, two thirds of heaven’s beings had joined Michael and Gabriel when they were most needed. These now formed an unbreakable cordon round Lucifer’s third. There was no escape for the party of Lucifer now, and everyone could see the fact. If they could have flown away, they would have done so, but it was as if a giant hand were pressing hard on the rebels, for though they leaped upwards to fly they couldn’t penetrate the invisible ceiling.

Screaming and trying to climb over each other, the rebels began falling into the fearsome rift, and the strange thing occurred to them that no one had anticipated. Each being that toppled in lost his beautiful, heavenly form. Instead of parting from heaven in glorious appearance, they emptied out of heaven, depending on grade of being, as black spiders, serpents, vultures, vampires, newts, scorpions, and poison frogs, various plagues, and other noxious, deadly things, both large and small. Lucifer’s chief lieutenants did not escape transmogrification either, making their fatal descent as huge-bodied, claw footed, flesh-eating beasts.

But Lucifer, even with his forces gone, was far from beaten. He had the Stones of Fire and he kept his heavenly form and splendor. Able to grow he had spanned the chasm with his feet and could not be thrust in by anyone, he had soared to such a height and strength.

Michael, at the head of the Lord God’s forces, stood dismayed, for he knew he could not throw Lucifer down.

Suddenly, a most strange sound issued from the gate of the Celestial City. The Beast of the City, a very long, compartmented thing, showed its steaming head at the entrance. Then, chuffing and blowing its whistle-voice a thundering blast that reverberated through all that part of heaven, the segemented Beast charged at the rebel archangel.

Faster and faster the Beast narrowed the distance between it and Lucifer, who was first amused then concerned as the Beast, too, grew in size and power and ferocity.

Thundering like the Most High God in His temple, the Beast swept down upon Lucifer, who to save himself, leaped into the only place of escape possible--the swirling black mouth of the chasm.

The many-wheeled Beast roared over the chasm, the steam and smoke covering the hole, and nobody at first but Lucifer knew what had happened to the great Rebel. But as the clouds thinned, a shout of triumph went up from Michael’s throat, joined by millions of other shouts. Lucifer, frightened by the Red Beast, had been forced to join his praise-vanquished army, which was now cascading through the black, frigid wastes of a hole in the terrestrial fourth heaven--a swirling fall of stark terror seemingly endless in extent that they would never forget, and thereafter dread even more than the fiery end promised them.

Now Lucifer was cast out of the First, Second, and Third Heavens, but he himself was not utterly vanquished and humbled. Like him, the Stones of Fire, tainted with the thoughts and desires of his heart, retained their powers and splendor---and they had followed him out of the Second Heaven.

Yet the Finger of God intervened at this point, doing something no angel and no magnificent Red Beast could accomplish. The hole, which was like a bottomless pit, suddenly divided, and Lucifer continued travelling out in one direction while the Fiery Stones were turned into an opposite, twin Universe. Evenso, this meant much trouble. Lucifer and the Fiery Stones were each seemingly more powerful than anything that could be brought against them in the ages to come. With care much might be regained, Lucifer considered, even in his first stage of his plunge from heaven. As long as he possessed all his beauty, greatness, and powers, he wasn’t going to give up the struggle. He admired and prized himself too much for that.

Michael, Gabriel, Palmoni, and all the others watched what they had not believed possible, the dramatic upset of the Usurper’s cart and his plummeting down through Doom’s crack, carried far away by a whirling blackness. Immediately, the damaged portion closed up, leaving not a trace of the insurrection, and the Red Beast retired to its barn in the Celestial City, yet all had been changed in the three heavens. Many once beloved and close friends had been lost to the enemy. Companions for untold ages could not be replaced. Every loyal servant could name thousands he had known personally, names now lost to heaven but not to memory. Could the loss be made up somehow? No one knew. The rebellion had been bad enough. Then how terrible it was to see former friends crying out for help from the other side as the Crack spread beneath their scrambling feet, turning them into the most horrible of creatures and then engulfing them forever in the blackness of judgment.

Besides the loss of much beloved friends and companions, there was the fact of what had occurred. Heaven, before the rebellion, had been most happy and carefree. Now a stern expression had settled on Michael’s lordly brow. He looked the commander he was after facing down Lucifer himself, who was higher in rank.

The chilling shadow cast by the closed gate of the City had not fully dissipated. Its effect lingered even in the returned brightness and glory of a purged heaven. But all who remained knew that the Rebel had soiled and defiled the heavenly places, even the thrones of the Godhead. What was to be done, so that the Majesty on High might return to his place among His servants? What could possibly cleanse the heavens from such a stain?

No wonder Michael and the others looked less happy than he had been before all this happened. Mourning was in his great heart, for what had been changed and, seemingly, forever lost.

Without saying what he meant by it, he went with Gabriel and Palmoni and they threw themselves down before the golden altar in the Second Heaven. The Throne, where Lucifer had recently sat, was empty of Eternity’s Holy One. The Presence was also gone, and the Seven Spirits, and the Throne and Altar’s Four Guardian Beasts--gone.

The servants of God mourned.

How long they sorrowed, it must have been a long time. Before they knew what it was, they felt the light of something new burst upon them.

God’s reserve “Sack of Gold” had been brought out of seclusion in the First Heaven. The Son of the Almighty, His Only Begotten, had stepped out of the Embrace of the Father and the Holy Spirit and chosen to perform the Father’s will.

As He passed from the First Heaven to the Second, and from the Second to the Third, heading out of all three and into the depths of the Fourth, the beloved Son was also stripped of all glory, just as Lucifer’s followers had been. He was so stripped, in fact, that He was made smaller than anything in heaven, and passed on His way as only a most precious, holy Seed in the Mind of the Spirit of God that swiftly bore Him to his appointed residence.

Michael and the others, rising to their feet, knew only that God’s Treasure had forsaken heaven, for what purpose they could only speculate about in holy council. Of course, the highest beings knew about the divine Dream, the Magnum Mysterium of the long-awaited “Crucifixion and Death” of the the Godhead’s Son. Was that what they had just witnessed? They had just seen His shocking diminishment and passing into seeming oblivion, had they not?

How astonished they were, rushing to the spot where the Son was last seen, when they discovered the glory he had shed and left behind. It stood up, high-armed, with a central pillar of light, soaring in splendor and majesty over all the Third Heaven. What was it?

They had seen innumerable stars of all colors and magnitudes and voices, yet this “Star” was more radiant and pure than any star. And it acted most strangely, as though it were still a living being.

Casting out flaring mists of light like a quenchless fountain springing from the center, it poured forth streams of what seemed to the witnesses to be tiny drops of a sparkling substance. Someone put it to his lips and tasted unsurpassed sweetness. But the “Star-Fountain” of the Son’s forsaken glory did not remain long in the Third Heaven. Outshining every other marvel in the heavens, shooting long, searching rays into the darkness, it followed the path of the lost Son, an odyssey that took the glory-star into the most dark and dangerous parts of the now contaminated Fourth Heaven.

2 Reunion

The Star of the Son’s Glory-—which had existed before any worlds and universes were framed--returned to heaven’s courts, awaiting the triumphant Yeshua. Yet it shone with double the former splendor, increased with the Father’s own glory from the moment He turned his face from the sin His Son took upon Himself for mankind’s sake. The moment the victorious Son appeared the star leaped and enveloped him head to toe with the radiance of the Most High God. Instantly his hair turned white as snow, too burning to look at, and his face shone like the sun.

The effect of Yeshua’s return, His taking up again the Throne of the Second Person on the right hand of the Father, was greater than the stir provoked by the Great Rebellion of Lucifer. All the heavens quaked and began to sing “Glory to God in the highest!” over and over.

The Homecoming was so joyous that there was no end to it. Rejoicing and praises were continual from one end of heaven to the other. The Alpha and the Omega, the Aleph and the Tau, the A and the Z had come home to the Father and the Holy Spirit!

And, strangely, He had "brought Captivity captive," taking with him as a first fruit from the Earth him who had hung on a cross beside him--one who had died condemned a thief. After a short tour of the underground world of Hades, where all souls—the righteous and the evil-—were kept, Yeshua flew to heaven’s gates where multitudes thronged every space expecting his imminent return. How amazed everyone was when Yeshua appeared, bringing a multitude of righteous souls with him! Yet most surprising was the soul of a common thief he kept his arm around, one whom he had drawn to himself during his last moments of life on the Cross.

Servants of the Most High, by the millions crowded round the man, eager to view the Lord’s favorite. They were just as full of wonder and perplexity about the Cross-death of Yeshua as how this man had come to heaven’s courts to live forever among the blest of God. What did the Cross mean? Why had the Anointed One died upon it? What “victory” had it achieved over Lucifer, and how had it, for example, won this soul of a thief out of Lucifer’s grasp, since Lucifer’s domain was death and hell?

The saved one was just as eager to explain to the angels what he now knew. “For you, there is no forgiveness for sin. But for mortal men, we have only to look to the Lord, and call on His saving name, and we are saved from all our sin and from all penalty for sin forever!”

Astounding! The angels could not fathom what he said at all. Could God be so forgiving? Why hadn’t they guessed this about the Elohim? How in the world could God, being so holy, forgive such a terrible thing as rebellion and sin? Hadn’t he allowed Michael to cast the leading rebel, Lucifer, and his army from heaven, to suffer punishment and darkness and exile forever?

The saved man smiled at their lack of understanding. He told them that it was by the Cross that God had chosen to reconcile both God and man, having slain the enmity that divided them, laid like a gulf between them by sin and rebellion.

“I am redeemed from the curse of the law,” he instructed them from what he had learned during listening to Yeshua’s preaching in the Underworld. “The Lord Yeshua was made a curse for us men, for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.’ He paid the penalty for my sin, becoming cursed for me. Being sinless, he took sin and became the perfect sacrifice for it as the Lamb of God! Don’t you understand yet?”

The servants of God shook their shining heads. It was just too overwhelming. They would have to inquire a long time, and meditate these statements for a very long time, to gain understanding.

The former thief, now a heir of the Anointed One and a reigning son of the Most High, continued to speak to them. He explained that Yeshua is the Author and Finisher of faith for all who believed in Him as Lord upon the Earth, all those who were not angels and devils, that is. For sinful men the Anointed Lamb of God, Yeshua, had despised the shame of the Cross, enduring it so that he could use His death to set free the captives of sin and death by paying the penalty for them that they could never pay, being sinful and condemned to death. This mighty work had been accomplished! Now salvation was a gift, it could not be earned. God would give this greatest of gifts, Salvation and Redemption, to any man, woman, and child who called on His name to be saved.

How can this be, son of Yeshua? the angels all cried. They knew angels were not forgiven if they ever chose to sin against the Most High. They knew that hell had been prepared for the fallen angels and that humanity had never been intended for such a torment. They knew they had one choice: to serve God with all heart, mind, and strength or be damned with Lucifer and his minions. Joyful now, they also knew that they had made the right choice. The others had been foully deceived by Lucifer into thinking they chose a greater good than serving the Most High--but they had made the choice and were held responsible for it. For fallen angels no Blood of the Lamb sufficed to cleanse and save, as with this former thief and sinner. How could it have sufficed for him?

The son of Yeshua, newborn into paradise, had no idea what to answer them on this point, so he paused for wisdom from God, and it came to him. He was given just what to answer them.

“Why, I was crucified with the Anointed One! I died with Him, so that when He died I was carried with Him into death, but when He arose from the grave, well, I was carried up alive with Him unto everlasting life and joy!”

This statement provoked the greatest stir, actually a roar that enveloped the whole congregation gathered to hear the saved thief, but the man was not going to explain further what he said--it was what had happened, and was a Mystery. How could God do such a thing? How could a sinful, condemned human spirit be enclosed in divinity in such a way as to become a sharer of divine “forgiveness” and blessing and eternal life? How, indeed! But it was so, or he would have stood there to proclaim it! All he had said, repenting of his wrongful accusations against Yeshua and also his sins that brought him to a Roman cross’s shame and death, was, “Master, remember me when you come into your kingdom!”

And the Anointed One had done ALL THE REST! Yeshua had appeared in the Underworld beyond the gulf that separating the waiting Blest from the condemned Damned, and plucked him out from the waiting Blest along with all the others. Yeshua put him at the head of the jubilant cavalcade of blood-washed and saved saints! At the head!

To confirm the man’s words and position, Yeshua the First and Last, the Beginning and the End, the Aleph and the Tau, now spoke to them all. “He is the first fruit of my Cross. The Father says, ‘Let him be given highest honor among men--and finest robes be laid upon him, and a crown of victory, for he is the first fruit of the beloved’s suffering and death!’”

But the saved thief did not wait for the crown and robes. He pressed forward to throw himself at his Lord’s feet in utter gratitude and joy.

A vast gulf yawned between heaven’s floor and the throne of Yeshua, but instantly a bridge appeared, spanning the distance completely, composed all of transparent silver.

Worshiping and crying out his praise and thanks the man ran forward, and threw himself at Yeshua’s nail-pierced feet.

Glory had returned to the Anointed One like a shining star, only doubled and tripled by the Father’s joy---now a greater glory—the praise and worship of his holy people, all won by the Cross’s cruel and shameful agony and death--shone about Yeshua and the saved thief. Could there be more glory than this?

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