GOD’S TIME THIEVES

By Jim C. Meador
Copyright since 1991, All rights reserved.
E-mail Author (Jim C. Meador — meadorj@apk.net)
748 September Drive Uniontown, OH 44685

 

– Chapter 1 –

“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah.
And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God . . .” Genesis 5:21,22.

_________________

Enoch looked out from the gate of his village across the green valley. Its verdant symmetry was marred only by the lazy, brown stream of water that slashed through it like a frustrated Giant zigzagging his pencil over a crisp, clean sheet of paper. He breathed deeply and the odor of the lush ferns and fruit yielding trees entered his nostrils. Their sweet fragrance mingled with the frothy, musty smell of mud churned up by the lumbering beasts in that stream below him. It was a pleasant aroma – one that he had enjoyed since the early years of his childhood now over 50 years gone by. He shook his head in disbelief,

“Just think, I am only 65 years old. Jehovah has been so good to me.”

He turned his head upward. High up in the clear, dark blue sky, just below the orange ball of the sun, a flying beast soared past. Its dark shadow, unbeknownst to the creature, betrayed its flight to all on the ground.

“There is no danger from this one,” Enoch thought as he spied its bulging belly, “it has already had its daily meal, probably some poor beast from the meadow lands upstream.” He thought of a few of the possibilities. “It could have been one of the slow moving tree dwellers that left the tree for a different snack or a land rover that was caught napping. Whatever, it was over now for the poor beast.”

Enoch cocked his head and listened. The usual noises were present — honks, roars, whistles, and grunts. The two and four legged creatures greeted the new day with their healthy salutations. He noted with special interest a herd of three horned Jarsewehs1 slowly making their way down to the water. He saw three young beasts in this herd; they were often captured and trained to be ridden. After a few years of kind treatment, they would be released back into the wilds. Farther upstream he noticed some long-necked Talisims2 floating near the banks contentedly munching on the plentiful plants easily within their reach.

The Prophet Micah, had just disappeared around the corner of the village path on the way to his lodge. Enoch strode over and sat on his hammock and mused over Micah’s incantations from the Naming Ceremony held the previous day.

A son had been born to Enoch. According to the custom of the Naming Ceremony, the eldest of the clan should give the newborn its first name. One could earn a second name later in his lifetime either because of some heroic deed or by a special decree of Jehovah.

Fortunately for Enoch’s great grandfather Kenan, who hardly looked the part of an elder at only 360 years old, Micah the Prophet lived in the village. Kenan disdained his duties as the eldest first-born in the village. He was more at home in the jungle, hunting for the gopher trees he used to make his high quality wooden items. He had little time for Naming Ceremonies.

Micah, on the other hand, took seriously his role as Prophet by presiding at all Clan functions and village ceremonies and speaking the words of Jehovah. Old and young alike still revered Prophets, giving them respect out of their love for Jehovah.

The village provided for the festivities in earnest. The youth gathered all manner of fruit from the surrounding jungle and heaped them in the middle of the village square. The women prepared vegetables of various sizes and colors and baked breads with golden crusts. The hunting men brought meat to the roasting pits.

Runners went to all villages within two day’s journey of their clan, the Clan of Seth. Many responded to the invitation; the Naming of the first-born in the Clan line of first-borns was a very special event.

After much feasting and sport, the guests gathered at Enoch’s lodge for the Naming. Micah, with glazed eyes from his fasting, lifted the squirming baby and declared, “He shall be called Methuselah. For when his breath ends, it shall truly come to pass.”

All those present wondered about this statement. Enoch, staring at Micah, had thought, “What a strange saying. And the name, why, no one in his clan had such a name. What could it mean? What plans could Jehovah (praise be to His Name) have for his son to cause Micah to make such a proclamation?”

Enoch got up and went inside where his wife Merinah was nursing the newborn child. “Merinah, I’m very happy about the son Jehovah has given to us, but the Naming has troubled me. Do you have any idea what the Prophet meant by his saying?”

His wife replied, “No, but I’m sure that Jehovah will give us the grace and wisdom in due time. Let’s not worry about things that will become clearer to us in the future. Here, place our child on his pallet. I’m very tired and must sleep now.”

Enoch took the baby and looked deep into his eyes. “My son, I will be the best father I can be to you with Jehovah’s help. Go to sleep now and let me be concerned about your future.”

He placed the baby on the pallet next to the one where Merinah already lay fast asleep. He stood over the child for a long time, deep in thought. He was confused as he continued to wonder about the Naming.

Whatever else Enoch thought, it never entered his mind to question the will of Jehovah. For more than any other in the village, yes, even more than any other of the Twelve Clans, it could be said that Enoch walked with Jehovah.

_________________

Paul Martin adjusted a dial on the controls to his right. “Watch out for overload in the new circuits,” he called over his shoulder to his assistant, Sally Winston.

Any other person with Sally’s credentials may have taken offense at such an assuming remark. She was an expert in Electronic and Software Engineering, with doctorates in Engineering and Applied Mathematics from MIT. She ignored it as only nervous shop talk.

They both knew the significance of the test. Today the entire course of history would be changed, or another dismal failure would be recorded in their voluminous working papers. Failures were common, and even expected, to those associated with the circular, scientific method of theory, experiment, observation, modify theory, . . . The circle continues until one either achieves success or a lack of funds brings an early death to a project.

“Ok, Paul,” Sally answered demurely, as she noticed that as usual, there was no possible cause to suspect overload in the area that Paul had mentioned. They had been through this same step of the procedure many times over the past seven months with no cause for alarm. They would not reach the place where the latest adjustment was to be made until much later in the checklist.

“Paul, it’s 2:30. Isn’t this a good time to stop for lunch?” she asked.

“Not for me,” he countered, “in just two hours, we’ll know if our new adjustments will give us the inversion required to focus the particle stream from the neutron cannons.”

“I’m well aware of the time schedule, Paul. At least let me send out for sandwiches,” she suggested with a firm edge to her voice. Paul would work three days without eating, if left to his own devices. “By the time they get here, we should be ready to charge the flux generators and can eat while that is taking place.”

“Good idea, as usual. You’re much more practical than I am,” he agreed. He followed Sally with his eyes as she left the room. “Why must I always be so business-like with her?” he asked himself. “If only I could tell her how I really feel . . .”

He sighed and returned to his work. He had never really felt comfortable with women; when the other boys were playing softball and pulling girls’ hair, he was studying Quantum Mechanics at MIT. He had earned his Master’s degree before most boys had even thought about their first date.

Sally hesitated in the other room before picking up the phone. “Why must I always be the prim and practical scientist with him? For once, can’t I be a woman?” She had always had to prove herself in the “man’s world” she had fled to and, consequently, had never gotten close to any man. Her bright and precise nature had scared them off long before that stage was ever reached. Still, she had begun to hope it would be different with Paul.

She finished dialing in their sandwich order and hung up the phone. She returned to the room and surveyed the sprawling equipment and thought, “We’ve made a lot of progress since meeting in Boston two years ago.” She daydreamed about that meeting.

_________________

Several of The Institute for Creation Research’s renown scientists were speaking on some new findings in archaeology and paleontology. They had claimed these findings helped shed light on the historical authenticity of the Biblical Flood of Noah. Someone had recently dug up a unique fossil on the Iranian side of the Euphrates river that had caused an uproar in the scientific community. A fossilized human skeleton was found crushed under that of an Allosaurus. Most textbooks teach students of paleontology that Allosaurs are from the Jurassic Period, 140 million years earlier than the first human.

Sally’s father was a Presbyterian minister who had instilled into his daughter a love of the Bible and the Christian faith. She had come to the seminar partly out of respect for him and partly out of her search to reconcile her deep feelings for the truth of the Bible. The doubts cast at her by her colleagues had steadily eroded her faith.

At a luncheon held that same day, Sally was sitting at a table with an open seat to her left. A shy, good looking young man touched her shoulder and asked, “Excuse me, is this seat taken?”

As she was about to reply, several of the people at the table exchanged hellos with the young man.

“Paul, it’s so good to see you again,” the man across from her exclaimed, as he stood and almost tipped over his water in his haste. “How’s the work going with Hawkings over at Cambridge? I guess the data from Voyager 2 is filling in a whole lot of holes, eh?”

“Well, Rich, there isn’t much we can release yet. You know how the team is with the press. Every loose end must be tied up before even the first draft goes to the news hounds,” he said as he sat down.

A large woman with graying hair chuckled and said, “Why Paul, you do remember the release you gave over the TV about that nuclear fusion in a jar process, don’t you? You scooped the entire Cambridge group with your theory that a new type of reaction, something between a chemical and a nuclear reaction had occurred. What was it? Uh, oh yes, a ‘nuclitoid adhesion’ was what you had called it.”

“You’re right, Ruth. I was just twenty then and didn’t know I had to run everything by the Director,” Paul said shyly with a smile as he stared into his plate.

A pleasant man with a fatherly face to her far left took charge of the conversation and suggested, “Why don’t we introduce ourselves before the salads arrive and explain our interest in this seminar? I’m Jim Stibbins, a minister from Cleveland, and I follow the Institute’s writings very closely. I was in Boston to speak at another church and heard about the seminar and decided to come.”

Each took their turns, a business man from here, a teacher from there. Sally heard without paying attention until it was her turn. “I’m just interested in the scientific data on the Flood,” she had lied, not willing to share her real reason.

She perked up when Paul offered his reason, “I’m here to learn more about the Flood, since I am working on a theory that might prove once and for all the validity of the Biblical record.”

All effort of his table partners to wrest this theory from him was fruitless and the rest of the luncheon was uneventful. She did hear enough of the other’s praises of Paul and quiet responses from him to wonder if he might have the knowledge and abilities to do just what he said he would. If so, her questions would be answered.

After lunch, she turned and begged him, “If you don’t mind, just what do you have in mind that could prove the Biblical record? Please, it’s very important to me.”

His terse reply left her speechless, “Simple . . . time travel.” He turned from her and walked toward the podium to meet the speaker.

Later that day, she ran into him at a break in the lobby. Nonchalantly siding up to him she had asked, “You couldn’t have been serious at lunch, could you? Really, time travel is just something out of the science fiction books.”

“Until this past year, I thought so too,” he said, “but working and debating with Steve Hawking at Cambridge caused me to arrive at a theory about the space time continuum. Oh, but surely I’d just bore you with a lot of scientific mumbo jumbo.”

“No, please continue. Really, I’m very interested. Skeptical, to be sure, but still interested,” she insisted.

Briefly, he explained his theory, and she found that even with her limited knowledge of theoretical physics, it did make sense. At least, she could say it wasn’t any worse than some she had read of in the Sci- fi’s.

After a pause of a few seconds she wistfully pronounced, “Have I understood you to say that the threads associated with space time can be likened to pipes? These pipes can be entered or exited through openings called worm-holes, and once entered they can be ridden like a bobsled chute to the desired exit point?”

“Remarkably simplified, but you seem to have caught the meaning behind my theory,” he said stroking his chin and studying her with his light blue eyes. “Just what is your field of study? You are a student, aren’t you?”

When he heard her two fields of expertise were electronic engineering and mathematics, a sparkle seemed to light up his entire face. “I’m only a Physicist and can use a specialist in electronics for my project. Would you consider submitting a resume?”

She thought for a second, then replied “Before I answer that, what makes you so sure that your theory is correct?”

“Until tested, I can’t be,” he said cautiously. He clinched his jaw firmly and bending to her confided, “But you see, I’ve already discovered how to enter a worm-hole.”

1 Triceritops

2 Apotasaurs, Brontosaurs, or similar species.

 

– Chapter 2 –

Methuselah had grown into a strong, handsome youth. His hunting skills had even now surpassed those of the Teachers. Enoch and his wife Merinah were proud of the way the village murmured their approval whenever their son passed by. They were also quick to spot the shy glances of the available maidens as they stole peeks at him from the weaving looms and grinding bowls. Their girlish giggles and whispers could only mean they were hoping their parents would enter into a betrothal agreement with Methuselah’s. At thirty years of age, Methuselah should soon be ready for a wife.

The village still talked of the visit from The First Ones a few weeks ago. Runners had preceded the entourage to prepare for their entry. By the time The First Ones arrived, a clean village greeted them. Even the roasting pits were empty of ashes and the bones buried far from the village wall.

All the elders were present in their best clothes trimmed with furs and bright feathers. Micah the Prophet was first in line. Close behind him in order were all the Clan leaders — Enoch’s great grandfather Kenan, his grandfather Mahalalel, his father Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah. The villagers were prostrate out of respect for Adam and Eve, The First Ones. Even the children were quiet, though they glowed pink from the scrubbing their mothers had given them.

Adam followed the lead guards riding a full grown Jarseweh. He had to dismount at the gate, though, since the Jarseweh could not fit through. The guards were strictly for pomp, not for defense. None could even conceive of any harm occurring to Adam. Jehovah had put a special charge to all creatures to honor and obey him. Even the largest of the sharp toothed beasts scampered from his presence. Adam’s visage belied his 715 years. His face burst with vitality; not a wrinkle could be seen. His form was perfect. His strong muscular arms and legs seemed to say, “Look at me; I’m the essence of Manhood.” His light brown hair cascaded to his shoulders and was just beginning to show streaks of silver.

Birds of all sizes and colors flew in circles above him, some swooping and then rising again only to repeat the joyful aerial dance. Several white Marmarrah birds with seven plumes on their heads and three large feathers on their tails, sat on the Jarseweh’s huge flanks. They thrust forward their breasts as though in pride at being chosen to ride with Adam. Periodically, they trumpeted their low bass calls followed by the high pitched staccato ending from which they derived their names, “Marrrr Marrrr Rah!”.

Eve followed Adam on a golden Yerry1. At any other time, all eyes would be on the Yerry, since they were much too wild and fast to catch in the open meadows. They were among the most beautiful beasts created by Jehovah. Their pale gold fur glistened in the sun. Their single ivory, spiraled horn at the end of their narrow snout, looked much like that of the narwhale.

However, Eve’s beauty eclipsed that of the Yerry and caused all to turn to her with breathless admiration. Her pure white skin made even the Marmarrah birds look dirty gray. Her long red hair highlighted her face like a torch and flowed down her back to gather around her hips like sparkling heaps of rubies.

Her figure was still perfect, like that of a maiden of sixteen, not as of one who had nursed many offspring for so many hundreds of years. As beautiful as she was, no man, beholding his “Mother”, could allow even one vile thought to seep its way into his mind.

They had honored Enoch with a special Blessing from Jehovah and had asked to see the youth Methuselah. He can still remember the wonder in all eyes when Adam reached to Methuselah and placing his hand over him, proclaimed, “This one is to be a sign to you all. As long as Jehovah gives breath to him, there is hope. Certain judgment and a total destruction will follow him.”

Eve bent and kissed the youth’s head and announced, “None will have a life as close to a day’s length than him. Jehovah has declared it.”

The First Ones moved on in their slow circuit through the Twelve Clans, visiting all the villages founded by their offspring. It may be seventy years until their return. Enoch counted it a privilege to have twice seen them in his short span of ninety-five years.

Again he wondered about the plans of Jehovah for his son. And what was Jehovah’s will for himself?

_________________

Both Paul and Sally had checked each other’s credentials very carefully during the two weeks after their meeting.

Sally had discovered upon quizzing the grizzled denizens of Cambridge that they considered Paul Martin to be the Guru of applied physics. He was the youngest ever to receive a Nobel Prize in Physics. They gave him the same reverence they gave to Steven Hawkings, the high priest of theoretical physics.

Paul in turn had found out that Sally was one of three mathematical computer programmers trusted by Mount Palomar Observatory. She had written the software used to position the huge telescope and for their photon collection and mapping filters. She also had an open contract with Cray Computers to write benchmark models to test their super computers.

They spent the first month working together planning the machinery required and holding in-depth discussions of Paul’s theories.

Paul droned on during one of their sessions, “Space-time threads are identified with one location or point in space. They are the continuum of the infinite time coordinates for that spatial point. Threads do not cross one another, but exist in parallel. Therefore, no thread can be used to arrive at a destination that differs from its associated point.”

“Then if we want to visit Rome in the eighth century, we must enter a thread that exists in Rome?” Sally pensively asked.

“That’s correct,” Paul answered, “however, to exit from the thread via a worm-hole at the exact required moment in time is trickier than one would at first suspect.”

Moving to the overused black board, Paul began to sketch what looked like a ball traveling in a spiraling arc. “This is the Earth as it moves around the Sun. The spiral motion is the path made by the Earth as the Sun moves through the Milky Way galaxy in its slow orbit.”

“I think I see what you are driving at,” squealed Sally with school girl excitement. “At any point in time, the position of the Earth or Sun can be calculated if one knows their relative speed and a fixed reference point. Then it must follow that threads bend and curve through space to correspond to these positions.”

“They do just that. So, in order to exit a thread, one must have a way to measure exactly where one is in space. Then the spatial coordinate can be mapped back to its corresponding time coordinate. Since time as we know it will be meaningless in a thread, we will not be able to process any sensory data such as movement or location. We must be able to calculate this accurately by computer algorithms. Then at the proper moment the computer will exit us through a worm-hole.”

“So that is why you need me,” interjected Sally. “My experience with Astronomy models can be used to arrive at the algorithms you need.”

“Remember that I didn’t know your background when we met,” countered Paul, “but I’m convinced that God wanted me to meet you for this very reason.”

“Now more than ever, I believe the same thing,” Sally had agreed. “It must be something more than Fate or Chance that brought us together.”

 

1Unicorn

– Chapter 3 –

“When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech.” Genesis 5:25
_________________

Methuselah beamed at his father with pride. Enoch returned the look as he sat with his arms crossed. The others present couldn’t recall a grandfather with more pride than Enoch. Some even thought to ask Micah to offer a special sacrifice to Jehovah, certain that Enoch was sinning.

One hundred and fifty seven years had passed since Methuselah was of an age to marry. Enoch and Merinah had begun to believe that their first-born — the one who would be given the blessing, the one who would receive a double portion, the one earmarked for the family priesthood — would remain unwed. Many times they had sought a betrothal contract, but Methuselah had refused them all.

Their other children had presented them with an abundance of offspring. It was not that they were unthankful, or that they withheld one smallest bit of love from their other grandchildren or great grandchildren. They were just proud of their first-born and his recent accomplishment.

Methuselah and Rachel, his wife of one year, had received the blessing of fruit from the womb. Enoch could now truly thank Jehovah (praise be unto His Name) since He had completed the circle of blessing that Enoch had himself received as first-born.

Micah had prepared for the Naming as he had so many times in his long life. He preceded his prayers to Jehovah by fasting and making the proper sacrifice on the stone altar outside the village wall. He chose one of the clean, split hoofed beasts kept by the herders for the sacrifice.

He had no reason to expect any special words from Jehovah today. Jehovah spoke as Jehovah wished. As Prophet, he was beyond any feelings of puffed up importance. Jehovah was to be served with one’s whole self. Micah had committed to express the words of Jehovah, whatever they were, many years ago.

After the sacrifice was consumed, Micah arose from before the altar. He motioned to the four armed guards whose purpose was to watch for any of the fierce sharp toothed beasts. Sometimes these creatures strayed from the valley below following their noses to the odor of burnt flesh. He was ready for the Naming.

When Micah placed his eyes upon the red, wrinkled baby, he felt the stirring within and heard the still, small voice that alerted him to Jehovah’s presence. “Lamech will be his name. His years will be three perfections, yet will the father live beyond the closing of his son’s eyes.” Micah repeated the message word for word.

For the second time in the village’s history, the norm of the Naming had been broken. And it had been another Clan line first-born. Truly, Jehovah had destined the family of Enoch for greatness.

“Could it be that their fame would be greater than that of the First Ones?” some had gossiped.

_________________

Paul couldn’t help the feeling of excitement that seemed to be coursing from his feet through his legs and into his chest. He found it hard to breathe. “Soon, very soon, I’ll know my destiny,” he reasoned with himself. He was certain God had created him for this very hour. He remembered thinking the same thought several times in his past.

_________________

When the scores were in from his first I.Q. tests, the headmaster had called Paul and his parents into his office at the school in Swaziland. Paul’s parents were serving Sudan Interior Mission as career missionaries at the time.

“I’m sure, Mr. and Mrs. Martin, that a small error has been made,” stammered the headmaster. “You see — we, um — we’ve never seen such results and have sent for verification before we include them in Paul’s records.”

Opening the envelope carefully as if filled with vermin, and holding the letter at arms length, the headmaster peered at the short paragraph. He expelled his breath like a diver breaking the surface and exclaimed in a squeaky voice, “Well — um — it seems that there was no mistake after all. Your son has been verified as the first to have a measured I.Q. exceeding 300.”

His parents exchanged smug glances and his father replied, “This is no surprise to us, Mr. Hargrain. You see, when Paul was born, we dedicated him to God’s use and were always sure that He had a special purpose for him.”

_________________

He had completed his doctorate thesis in Physics at the age of thirteen. He remembered stunning the examining board at his oral exam when he proclaimed that it was possible for God to exist outside of His universe untied to the laws and constraints that some Physicists had placed Him under. Most of the board either didn’t believe in a God or figured that once He had started the universe, He had abandoned it – becoming preoccupied with some other project.

Had it not been for his unparalleled intelligence, all laboratories of significance would have blackballed him.

_________________

He earned the Nobel Prize in Physics at twenty when his discovery of the “nuclitoid adhesion” principle saved some Utah chemists from complete ostracism by the scientific community. They had wrongly asserted that they had discovered nuclear fusion at room temperature. Paul had shown that under certain chemical reactions, neutrons within the nucleus of metallic molecules could squeeze tighter together. This “adhesion” of the molecules caused some sporadic neutrons to be popped out, resulting in a small burst of heat energy. The free neutrons could then feed small uranium fueled reactors to make electricity.

_________________

He watched the power indicators as they inched up the column and flowed past the red lines labeled “full”. Sally entered the command that would start the Cray computer’s number cruncher that calculated the exact space-time coordinates of the Earth and the Solar System. This was a most critical calculation, since an error of even the smallest fraction meant they would aim at a different space-time than expected.

The test today was to be the first with a live animal. They would project the white mouse sniffing contentedly in the small cage one minute into the future. They had already run the inanimate tests days before. The time vehicle had been sent on its way uptime and had appeared one minute later. The Solar System, Earth and laboratory had rotated through the cosmos to meet it on schedule.

Paul remembered the unprofessional way he had danced around the lab and how he had even grabbed Sally and whirled her in a mock waltz.

“Excuse me, Sally, I — um — don’t know what came over me,” he had stammered as he noticed her wide eyed expression as they had nearly tripped over a bench.

“That’s quite alright, Paul,” she had assured him as she smoothed her hair and brushed off her sweater, “I’m just as excited as you are. You were right after all. Soon we can try to go backwards and then all history is open to us.”

“Forward in time is one thing, Sally. It is like a new pad of paper. No marks have yet been made; there is nothing to get in one’s way. I wonder if backwards can be as smooth. Remember, all history has been etched in place and we cannot change anything of consequence or we may change the outcome of our own future. Our first travels will be strictly for documentary purposes. We will observe without being observed,” he had sermonized to her.

“Do you think we should still target the Crucifixion of Christ?” she asked.

“What other event in history has had the impact of that one?” Paul had asked. “With the Crucifixion and Resurrection captured on VCR, the whole world will then be forced to believe. If they don’t, we will take the journalists or world leaders back in time and they can see it for themselves.”

“Do you think it will be so easy?” Sally had wistfully questioned. “I am still not convinced that God wishes to use this type of display for mankind. What about the area of faith? Remember the Bible says, ‘without faith, it is impossible to please Him’. How can we be sure He will allow us to do this? Maybe we should just record some of Jesus’ early life or a few of His later miracles.”

Paul listened to Sally’s objections earnestly and compromised, “Ok, we won’t take any journalists, but we’re still going to Jesus’time. However, we’ll not take any pictures until we have received some assurance that we are acting according to God’s will.”

“How will we know that for sure?” she quizzed.

“We’ll just have to trust that to God,” he conceded and turned to the instruments.

With the flux generators charged, they were ready to place the white mouse and cage into the chamber of the time vehicle.

The chamber was a sphere roughly twelve feet in diameter. Inside the sphere were two seats facing a Video Display Tube centered in a curved console. Behind the seats was the super miniaturized Cray computer. Neutron cannon devices were sandwiched every one-half inch between the outer hull and the inner one. These cannons would open the worm-hole and provide the steady lubrication of neutrons required to move the sphere through the time thread.

The entrance to the time vehicle was through a port hole in the rear. Cameras were mounted in the front and just above the back port hole. These were the only interruptions in the smooth skinned vehicle.

Sally had programmed the Cray computer to start the countdown sequence five minutes after entering the “Go” command. This would give them time to get into the observation room.

They watched through the thick glass window and waited as the final seconds ticked away. Three, two, one, zero.

The sphere quietly disappeared and then reappeared one minute later, exactly on schedule. Opening the port hole, they were greeted by the inquisitive mouse sniffing around his cage; completely unaware of being the first living creature that had traveled through time.

– Chapter 4 –

“Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.” Genesis 5:5
_________________

The sound of wailing could be heard several hundred yards from the village wall. The villagers had donned old worn out clothes; wide gaping rips yawning as they moved. Grabbing their clothes, they tore other gashes into the mildewed fabric. They threw dust and ashes into the air covering everyone with the white chaff of grief. This cloud mingled with their tears and made all appear to be white specters.

Five days earlier a gasping runner had stumbled through the gate with the news. No one could believe their ears. The runner had to proclaim his message many times before the shock of its truth slammed into their understanding. Adam and Eve were dead.

They had been visiting the main village of the Clan of Elrond and had retired after a night of feasting and story telling. The next morning, Elrond himself had gone in to look on his parents since they had not risen at sunrise as was customary. He found them wrapped in each other’s arms appearing as though peacefully asleep. However, they were cold to the touch and he knew that they had departed this life.

Even though all had heard the story of “the Fall” from the elders, no one really believed that Jehovah would take the First Ones. True, a few others had trod the path of death, but mostly by accident. They had been caught unawares by the beasts or been struck by falling trees. But the First Ones? It wasn’t possible that they would die, even though they were 930 years old.

Many went to Micah with their questions. “How could Jehovah require their deaths for just eating from that one tree?” asked one. “Explain the significance of the Fall to me again,” searched another.

Micah did his best to answer them, drawing upon his limited know- ledge and faint memories of talks with Adam. Jehovah was silent, however; no words came from Him to give solace. The questioners often left as bewildered as they had come.

Several elders would represent the village at the Clan of Seth’s mourning period. Each Clan, including the renegade one of Cain, would take one month through the next year to grieve at the tomb of their beloved Parents. It was rumored that Jehovah Himself had buried them with His own hands and had set Angels with flaming swords to surround their crypt.

As they passed through the gate, Enoch looked back and waved at those gathered there. He was unhappy to leave Merinah, the children, and grandchildren behind, but very pleased that the elders had chosen him and Methuselah to accompany them on the long journey. Enoch at 310 and Methuselah at 245 were the youngsters among the group.

Enoch couldn’t help thinking about the strange feelings he had. “There is a change coming, son,” he mentioned to Methuselah. “I wonder if the First Ones’ deaths could be our warning that Jehovah is about to deal with us in a different manner?”

“What do you mean, father?” Methuselah asked.

“I mean that people are acting differently in some of the other villages. The young people question the practices and authority of the elders. Some leave their villages to live alone in the jungle, caring nothing for their family homes. I have even heard of one taking more than one woman as wife. Jehovah cannot continue to hide His face from such deeds,” Enoch said with great emotion.

“Father, I also have heard of such acts. Perhaps Jehovah wanted to spare the First Ones from the pain of their offspring’s folly,” suggested Methuselah.

“We shall see, son . . . we shall see,” Enoch sighed as they followed the others down the jungle path.

_________________

Paul and Sally had planned for the first trip in the time vehicle with the utmost care. They had ordered supplies and shipped them ahead weeks beforehand. They had targeted the time of Christ around the Passover in 29 A.D. Sally had programmed the computer with alternate dates of 28 A.D. and 30 A.D. through 33 A.D., since no one was absolutely sure when the Crucifixion had occurred.

They had arrived in Tel Aviv after an uneventful flight. On the airliner, they had discussed some of the aspects of the trip.

“Now when we arrive in the time of Jesus, how do we keep the time sphere from being discovered?” Sally asked.

“I’ve got some tarps that we can throw over the sphere. We should arrive in the early morning hours, so not too many people will be nosing around. We’ll cover the tarp with straw when one of us leaves the machine. We can’t leave together; it will be too risky,” he answered.

“Paul, we may want to return to the time of Christ sometime in the future. How can we be sure that we won’t run into ourselves from a later trip? I’ve read certain Science Fiction novels that say that it would be disastrous to do this.”

“I’m not so sure that it will be harmful to see yourself from a different time. As long as you don’t talk to the ‘self of the future’ and learn something that you otherwise wouldn’t know, there should be no problem. Remember, the ‘self of the future’ will be as anxious as you will be to keep from altering their own destiny.”

They had taken a map of Israel and planned trips they would take in the future. “How about visiting Caesarea in the middle years of Herod the Great`s reign. We could watch as he builds the magnificent city in honor of Caesar Augustus, ” Paul said as he pointed to the coastal town.

“Was that before or after Christ’s birth?” Sally asked.

“I believe it was before. Herod died within five years of Christ’s birth. Remember in Matthew where Joseph, Mary, and Jesus went to Egypt for a few years until those who sought Jesus’ life were dead?”

“Oh yes, I remember. They then came back to Israel and settled in Nazareth. Oh, won’t it be great to visit Nazareth and watch Jesus making furniture. Do you suppose he would know we’re from the future?”

“I don’t know. My understanding of Jesus’ life is that He lived totally under The Holy Spirit’s control. He emptied Himself of the rights and characteristics of the Godhead, except those that were inherently impossible to be rid of,” Paul said. “Unless The Holy Spirit revealed us to Him, I don’t believe He would know us.”

“Well, I believe He would,” she disagreed with a pout.

Sally then pointed out the beautiful valley of Jezreel near the old city of Meggido and said, “Look, Paul, this is the place of the last great war, the Battle of Armegedon. Do you suppose that we would be allowed to visit the future and see the Anti-Christ destroyed by the forces of God?”

“I’m a little leery of trying to go ahead in time. You know, like trying to find out how and when you die? I don’t think it would be wise; let’s stick with the past. There’s so much that can be found out from the mistakes and successes of history. Maybe mankind can use that knowledge to make the most of his future.”

“Paul, you know that man is basically evil. Do you think that someone will steal your invention and use it for their own gain?”

“I’ve thought of that quite a lot. I am trusting that God has a plan for us to use the time vehicle and will keep it away from those who are not His servants.”

They landed in Tel Aviv and drove directly to Jerusalem, the City of Peace. For several days, they stayed at the King David Hotel and took in the sights of the ancient city. They jointly decided against using Jerusalem as a starting point.

They looked for a place that would be outside the old city walls and found a shed in the area of Bethany. “Jesus came here to Bethany often to stay with His friends Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. The town is within one day’s walk of Jerusalem, which will allow us to get back and forth easily. What do you think, Sally?” Paul asked.

“I suppose it will be alright. Speaking of Lazarus, I would love to see him raised from the dead, wouldn’t you?”

“Yes, I would. I think it occurs just several weeks before the Crucifixion. We could alter our arrival time to see it,” he responded, “or we could return there in another trip.”

Once they had paid the rent in advance, it took them just over one week to set up the equipment. All the crates had arrived from the airport with no apparent damage.

“Since the original streets and topography of Jesus’ time was roughly forty feet below the current surface,” Paul reflected, “it would be best if we could dig a hole in the basement and operate the time vehicle from there; but that would not be too practical.”

“But if we were several feet off,” quizzed Sally, “wouldn’t we crash when we exit the thread?”

“Yes, of course we would, so we’ll just have to trust that God will not allow the bump to harm the vehicle,” stated Paul. “The only sure way to avoid this is to start from a place that we know was present at the time of Christ. But, I doubt that the Catholic Church would let us use the Church of The Nativity or the Jews would let us set up on the Temple area.”

Over the next few days, they both anxiously worked down the check list. Finally, they reached the point for the “Go” sequence. They entered the vehicle.

Paul looked across at Sally. Taking her hands in his, he bowed in prayer. “Lord, we are about to embark on a journey that we both believe agrees with your will. We pray that You will be glorified by what we are about to do. Lead us, we pray, in your Name, Amen.”

Five, four, three, two, one, zero.

The next thing registering on their senses was the Video screen in front of their eyes. Both exchanged shocked looks as the screen showed the blackest black they had ever seen.

“Shift to the aft camera,” barked Paul.

The image of a huge swirling galaxy appeared on the screen as Sally obeyed.

“My goodness, Paul,” she exclaimed, “where in the world are we?”

“You mean where in the Universe are we?” he answered. “And why are we still alive? We’re in outer space. We never built this sphere for space travel. We should have frozen to death as soon as we exited through the worm-hole. I’m . . . .”

At this point a blinding pulse of light hammered into their brains interrupting Paul’s ravings. The light seemed to pour in through their pores; yet they felt no pain. Instead, a sense of euphoria overcame them both as they waited for the communication that they innately knew was to follow.

“Fear not,” a soothing Voice said, “for behold, I have come to give guidance to you. His Majesty the Lord of Hosts has summoned you. I, Gabriel, will answer any questions you have. No harm shall befall you in any way.

“You are the first of your race permitted into the Great Gulf in your solid form. His Majesty the Lord of Hosts has truly blessed you,” the Voice continued.

Paul felt his tongue loosen and his thoughts return to him, “What happened? How did we arrive here?”

Sally joined in the questioning simultaneously, “Did you say you are Gabriel? The angel Gabriel? Can we see you?”

“I am the Archangel used by His Majesty the Lord of Hosts to communicate with your race. I can permit you to experience me in my true form only in your thoughts,” the Angel answered Sally.

“I will tell you later what happened during your journey,” he replied to Paul, not wishing to appear inattentive, “but for now, listen to my Song.”

Their senses reeled as a symphony of colors whirled by in their minds. The colors danced and jumped as the first movement increased in tempo. Faster and faster the colors rose on their merry journey like sparks rising into the air above an outdoor campfire. They died away like the last embers in a fireplace on a Fall evening.

The second movement began as a sea of molten lava oozing out in a myriad of shades and hues. Large stalagmites of solid light thrust this way and that from the ooze in random groupings. Paul and Sally seemed to leave their bodies. Their spirits flew over the boiling sea. Below them an intricate embroidered pattern spread out like a quilt. Intuitively they knew the quilt shouted its owner’s name – “Gabriel”.

They returned to their bodies and met the crashing third movement head-on. Gigantic light projectiles exploded on contact with each other. The bursts turned into immense fireworks patterns. These in turn became fluid light-falls that quickly scooted out of sight.

They lost count of the movements that followed. Instead, they became like children set loose in a warehouse full of toys. They ran to this light show; they abandoned it for another; they sat immersed in yet another. When they finally awoke, they were in their time vehicle with the video display glaring harshly in front of them.

“That was absolutely fabulous, Gabriel. Do all angels appear in this way?” asked Sally breathlessly.

“The Anointed Cherub Noel and many of the higher Archangels like Michael have Songs that are many times greater than mine,” Gabriel humbly said.

“Where do these songs come from?” asked Paul, forgetting his earlier questions.

“His Majesty the Lord of Hosts gave my race our Descriptive Songs when He called us forth from the Great Deep. He commanded us to perform our Songs when He spoke the burning suns into existence and assigned one to each of us as our Trusteeship.

“We each take care of a burning sun until your race comes of age to inherit it. Those that followed Lucifer in his revolt abandoned their Trust leaving it to fall into disarray to return to the elements from which His Majesty the Lord of Hosts formed it. You call such events novas and supernovas,” Gabriel answered.

“Do you mean to tell us that there is an angel assigned to each star in the universe? That’s preposterous. Why, there must be zillions of stars,” Paul stammered.

“I do not lie. I have struck others of your race dumb for doubting my word,” warned the Angel. “As I have said, each of my race has a burning sun assigned to him to keep in order and to maintain for all time until your race inherits it. As beings of living light, we are more than qualified for this task.”

“I’m sorry, Gabriel. This is just so amazing to me,” Paul apologized.

“Where are you going to take us?” asked Sally, hoping to rescue Paul. By now she had lost her nervousness.

“We are heading to the abode of His Majesty the Lord of Hosts. I have been carrying you there since meeting you,” Gabriel confided.

“You mean we’ve been moving all this while?” asked Sally. “How far have we come and how much distance remains?”

“Since you entered the Great Gulf, we have traveled for what you would know in time as one year at a speed of light raised to the third power,” Gabriel acknowledged.

“That’s impossible,” exclaimed Paul as his calculator brain quickly went into high gear. “That’s over 30 billion light years.”

“To be exact, it’s 34,701,057,028.8 light years,” corrected Gabriel with a noticeable bite to his words.

“Gabriel, I’m sorry I didn’t believe you again. I know that you would not lie. It’s just so incredible. I will try not to doubt you again,” Paul apologized.

“I will accept that,” quipped the Angel.

“Did you say that your song took one year to complete?” Sally asked incredulously. “It seemed to be over in only a matter of minutes.”

“We are in the Great Gulf,” stated Gabriel. “Time means nothing here. The time threads begin and end where we met at the edge of the Great Gulf. Remember, that as beings of light, we are bound to the same physical laws of the universe as are you. Out beyond the Great Gulf, we can only travel at light speed. His Majesty the Lord of Hosts created the pathways you call ‘threads’ for my race. We use them to travel instantly anywhere in the universe that His Majesty the Lord of Hosts requires.”

“Gabriel, I can’t help noticing that you refer to God as ‘His Majesty the Lord of Hosts’. Do you have other Names for Him?”, quizzed Sally. “We know Him as many different Names — God, Heavenly Father, Lord, Jesus, Savior — these are just a few.”

“My race know His Majesty the Lord of Hosts as only one other Name reserved for speaking in His Presence. We are not permitted to use it away from His Presence. Remember, your race has a totally different relationship with His Majesty the Lord of Hosts. You have been shown His characteristics of Mercy, Grace, and Forgiveness. These are foreign to us except through observing them in action with your kind.

“Enough talking for now. Look at your display,” he ordered. “We have arrived at our first destination.”

– Chapter 5 –

The video screen showed a huge fuzzy ball that looked much like a cloud gently swirling in the wind. They inched closer to the cloud and soon noticed it was made of individual particles. As they got even closer, the cloud transformed into a multitude of moving bodies.

Gabriel interrupted the silence, “These are The Guardians. No human has seen one until now. They are far too awesome in nature for your race to stand face to face with. If not for the direct intervention of His Majesty the Lord of Hosts and His upholding power, you and your time ship would be squashed to nonexistence. Each of them is the Overlord of one of the large islands of burning suns you call galaxies. They are the Principalities that rule trillions of my species. His Majesty the Lord of Hosts called them here in your honor.”

“What have we done to be honored like this?” asked Paul.

“It is not what you have done, but rather what you will do. Even if you would do nothing of merit, you are still an image bearer of His Majesty the Lord of Hosts,” the Angel explained.

“There must be billions of them,” estimated Sally.

“Seven hundred thousand billion are gathered,” said Gabriel. “Only His Majesty the Lord of Hosts knows the exact number that exist.”

“Do you mean that there are over seven hundred trillion galaxies in the universe?” Paul stammered.

“There are many more than that. I just indicated that these have gathered in your honor; they are the representatives of the major galaxies of the universe. Even I have not been to but a small portion of the galaxies they represent.”

As they passed through the cloud, their minds were caressed with welcomes from The Guardians. The feelings of love and acceptance overwhelmed them. Billions and billions of mental kisses sought them out at once. Paul and Sally wept with joy. They wept until empty of tears; they exhausted themselves with their sobbing.

“Gabriel, why do they treat us so?” cried Paul as they finally cleared the vast horde of angels.

“They do so out of love and respect for His Majesty the Lord of Hosts. Only the lower species of Cherubim and Seraphim were permitted to attend His Majesty the Lord of Host’s Nativity. The Guardians have been waiting for one of Adam’s race to bow to ever since His Majesty the Lord of Hosts took on flesh. Only then could they see the purpose behind their long Trusteeship.”

“What do you mean?” asked Paul.

“As I stated earlier, The Guardians oversee the galaxies until your race is ready to inhabit them. None of us saw how that would be possible until His Majesty the Lord of Hosts became human. Then we knew that your race would be raised far above ours and would become like His Majesty the Lord of Hosts; you would inherit His Creation.”

“Weren’t you jealous?” interjected Sally.

They both sensed the laughter as Gabriel answered, “My little friends, we burst with pride for you. There is more to His Majesty the Lord of Hosts and His Universe than your race could experience through ten thousand eternities. We certainly do not feel any jealously towards you. Besides, who are we to question the sovereign decisions of His Majesty the Lord of Hosts?

“Look now upon your eternal home,” he concluded as something else seemed to occupy his attention.

They were totally unprepared for what they saw next. A Cube of immense proportions hung suspended in the distance. Light seemed to radiate from inside it, glowing as from a transparent golden crystal. They seemed to travel for hours before noticing any change in its size. Slowly the Cube grew before them. As they got closer, they saw features that looked like buildings and parks.

“It’s a city,” shouted Sally. “What is it called, Gabriel? And how big is it?”

“You know it as Shangri-la, New Jerusalem, or Heaven,” the Angel answered. “We call it in our tongue, ‘Har-avnei-eish’ or ‘The Mountain Of The Stones Of Fire’.

“The city is infinitely larger than it appears to you. The outside walls measure 1500 of your miles or 12,000 furlongs on each side. It is the same distance in height. Inside, however, His Majesty the Lord of Hosts created it to increase in size the deeper one travels. The city is large enough to house all sentient beings in the universe.”

“Do you mean all the angels too?” Paul asked, careful not to insult Gabriel.

“Yes, angels and your race. However, it will not include those who rebelled with Lucifer nor any of your race that do not accept the provision of Salvation from His Majesty the Lord of Hosts. His Majesty the Lord of Hosts has prepared another abode for each of these. At the center of each galaxy is a huge singularity that serves to keep the burning suns in order. These ‘black holes’ as you call them will each be the eternal home of one of the rebels,” Gabriel expounded.

They were close enough to see the wall of the city by now. The wall was like a rainbow, yet unlike any rainbow they had ever seen. Layers made up the wall; each being of a different color and consistency than the others.

“The wall reminds me of jewels,” exclaimed Paul.

“They are jewels. Each layer of the wall is eighteen of your feet or twelve cubits high. The first layer is red jasper; the second, deep blue sapphire; the third, pale blue-gray chalcedony; the fourth, green emerald; the fifth, reddish white sardonyx; the sixth, red sardius; the seventh, yellow green chrysolite; the eighth, aquamarine beryl; the ninth, light yellow topaz; the tenth, golden green chrysoprasus; the eleventh, violet jacinth; and the twelfth, rose red amethyst,” the Angel described.

“Of course, these are but a sample of the beauty of the jewels that surround the throne of His Majesty the Lord of Hosts,” Gabriel stated. “Lucifer served His Majesty the Lord of Hosts in the throne room until he fell and was cast out. Now the Anointed Cherub, Noel, ministers there.

“Look, we’re coming to one of the twelve gates,” Gabriel continued. “This is the gate you would know best.”

They noticed a flurry of activity around the gate; angels flew in and out like bees around a hive. None taking the slightest interest in them.

“It looks like a gigantic pearl that has been drilled through,” said Paul. “You know, like ‘a pearl of great price’.”

“It reminds me of that giant redwood tree back on Earth that has an auto port cut through it,” chimed in Sally. “Look, there is a name carved in at the top. It says ‘The King’s Gate – Judah’. Oh, look there also. The names of the Apostles are carved in the layers of the wall. There’s ‘Peter’ in the first layer and ‘Paul’ in the last. I see what you mean, Gabriel. This gate is for all our race that are not Jews, since we get our tribal rights from Christ who was from the tribe of Judah. I can hardly wait to get inside the city.”

“I am not permitted to take you inside,” Gabriel corrected her. “You should know by now that this city is not for flesh and blood. You will enter this gate only at the appointed time for you, not a moment sooner.

“Please, prepare yourselves. I have been informed that His Majesty the Lord of Hosts wishes to address you through my tongue.”

They sensed, rather than saw, the Seraphim arrive. They looked at the video screen. The vehicle was surrounded by a line of strange looking angels facing away from it.

They noticed other bands of these angels approaching from the city. The creatures had three pairs of wings; one pair was beating like the wings of a hummingbird; one pair was wrapped around their feet. The third pair, oddly enough, covered the creatures’ faces; they could not see any of the angels’ facial features.

The creatures started chanting in unison, “Holy, holy, holy, is His Majesty the Lord of Hosts: the whole of creation is full of His glory.

“His Majesty the Lord of Hosts is worthy to receive glory and honor and power, for He created all things, and by His will they were created and have their being.

“Worthy is His Majesty the Lord of Hosts to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.

“To His Majesty the Lord of Hosts who sits on the throne be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever and ever.

“Holy, holy, holy, is His Majesty the Lord of Hosts, Who was, and is, and is to come.”

Bands of the angels pealed off suddenly, like fighter jets at an Air Show. They began what seemed like a bombing run at the time sphere. As each band passed by, Paul and Sally heard their loud Announcements.

“His Majesty the Lord of Hosts is full of LOVE!” one band proclaimed.
“His Majesty the Lord of Hosts is full of GRACE!” from another.
“His Majesty the Lord of Hosts is full of KNOWLEDGE!” . . .
“His Majesty the Lord of Hosts is full of RIGHTEOUSNESS!” . . .
“His Majesty the Lord of Hosts is full of PATIENCE!” . . .
“His Majesty the Lord of Hosts is full of WISDOM!” . . .
“His Majesty the Lord of Hosts is full of MERCY!” . . .
. . .
. . .

This went on for what seemed like hours. Each attribute was shouted to their senses and met with rapt eagerness by Paul and Sally; there was no boredom in this show.

Suddenly, a rush like a mighty wind seemed to blow through the vehicle. Nothing stirred, yet they were conscious of an awesome PRESENCE bearing down upon them. They felt as if they were decreasing in size; like being compressed into an inconsequential speck. They grew smaller and smaller. They felt they would disappear if they grew any smaller. They grew smaller and smaller and smaller yet. They noticed specks appearing and growing before their eyes. The specks grew – they were Atoms! Paul and Sally shrank past these. The Atoms grew to solar system size. Paul and Sally continued shrinking. Finally they ceased shrinking; the PRESENCE had arrived.

They were aware of a multitude of fragrances. They were each reminded of childhood smells that carried with them a sense of safety and love and acceptance. They knew that no evil would be found in The PRESENCE.

Welcome, MY children,” they were aware of The PRESENCE speaking to their subconscious, but using Gabriel’s voice.

Instantly they knew that their innermost thoughts and motives were exposed; they were undone; they were naked; they were soiled. Each, in their shame, started confessing to The PRESENCE. They poured out their faults like a tape recorder running on fast forward. In a microsecond, all the sin in their entire life had been expunged. They felt truly cleansed.

“My Lord and My God,” Sally and Paul worshiped in unison from their dream state.

The PRESENCE continued, “I have brought you here before your time has ended to perform a service for ME. You have erred in your original purpose to record MY Crucifixion and Resurrection. Sally was correct in that I desire faith to be exercised for Salvation. I will permit no other way. However, I will use you and your time vehicle for another purpose, if you are willing.

“We are willing, Lord,” they agreed.

I am pleased. Listen closely. Gabriel will escort you back through the Great Gulf. When you arrive in your universe again, I will send you to …

– Chapter 6 –

“And after he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years
and had other sons and daughters.” Genesis 5:26
_________________

Eber mounted one of the Jarsewehs and called out to his friend, “Asaph, let’s go. We want to get back before dinner. You know how our mothers are if we’re late.”

“Ok, Eber. I’m looking forward to a good swim. Did you tell your sister where we’re going?”

“Yes I did. She’ll let our families know,” Eber replied.

They rode through the log gate from the rock pen containing four of the beasts that were in the process of being tamed. Eber dismounted and easily moved the logs back into place. “There, that ought to keep you beasts until we return.”

“Should we go the long route or take the direct route today?” asked Asaph.

“Let’s take the long route. These beasts need many days of training yet. The ride will allow them to get used to the feel of us on their backs.”

“Did your father give you orders to exercise them every day, or are you second guessing him?” Asaph questioned.

“He left everything up to me. He is testing me, I think. I am going to show him that I can be counted on,” Eber said proudly.

They rode on in silence. The open ground around the pens gave way quickly to the dense forest. One had to look closely to notice even any vestiges of a path. The forest quickly obliterated any intrusion into its wild state.

The Jarsewehs moved through the thick growth with little effort. Occasionally the riders had to shift their bodies one way or another to avoid being swept off by vines or branches, but they stayed mounted.

They stopped to water the beasts at a stream that widened into a small pool. After gathering several armloads of ferns to feed their mounts, the young men picked some fruit for themselves.

Eber and Asaph sat near the pool and lifted their heads towards the sky. Eber prayed, “We are thankful, Jehovah, for your provision. May your name be praised throughout the whole Earth.”

Asaph followed, “Even the air and water are gifts from you, Jehovah. We are truly thankful for your care and abundant life.”

They ate heartily and discussed the latest gossip from the village. “Tannel said yesterday that the last group that traded with the renegade Clan of Cain from Nod saw a new type of molten earth stone,” Asaph said between slurps.

“Is this new molten earth stone shiny like the last type?” asked Eber.

“No, he said it was black like the night and very hard. It can cut right through the shiny molten earth stone. He has a spear point made from it and is eager to go hunt one of the large beasts,” Asaph said.

“Well, perhaps we’ll go on a hunt soon. When father agrees to lead us, maybe Tannel can go too. Come, lets go. The sun is already at midday,” Eber said as he helped his friend to his feet.

They mounted their beasts and continued through the forest. After another hour, they broke through the forest and saw the river flowing in the distance beyond a wide expanse of bottom land.

“I’ll beat you this time, Eber,” Asaph called over his shoulder as he urged on his mount.

“We’ll see about that, Asaph,” teased Eber. He laughed and kicked his beast with his heels. The beast seemed to jump start with renewed energy and sped away.

Neck and neck they raced through the thick growth of low lying ferns that grew down to the water’s edge; their beasts plowing ahead with little trouble.

Eber crouched low behind the high bony collar of his Jarseweh, cutting the wind’s resistance. He gave a sharp tug on the left horn of the beast just as it reached the river bank ahead of Asaph. It stopped suddenly.

Asaph misjudged the bank; his mount braked at the water’s edge and flung him far out into the muddy flow.

He broke surface laughing and spluttering, “Eber, you cheated me again.” He swam to shore and climbed out. “You knew that Bonti would scare and throw me, didn’t you?”

“Why didn’t you question me when I insisted you take Bonti while I took Monti?” Eber mischievously replied. “You know that father is an expert beast-master. He tells me each beast’s characteristics.”

“When is your father returning?” Asaph asked as he stretched out to absorb the sun’s rays on the flat rock beside Eber.

“He and grandfather Enoch are due back at the New Moon two days from now. We are to celebrate grandfather’s birthday. He will be 365, you know. They took six trained beasts with them and should get much in trade,” Eber replied.

“Speaking about your grandfather’s party. Isn’t your brother going to announce his leaving?”

“Now how did you know that? Father only gave his permission before leaving on this trading trip.”

“Your sister told me. You know how Naomi keeps secrets.”

“I should have known, she . . .”

A piercing scream interrupted their calm discussion. Farther upstream, they noticed their Jarsewehs had surrounded two human figures. These figures were waving branches at their beasts.

They ran to aid their pets. When they arrived, they found themselves face to face with two of the most sickly looking humans they had ever seen. They were covered from head to foot with strange clothing.

“Who are you? Where do you come from? Why are you trying to hurt my Jarsewehs?” Eber angrily demanded.

The smaller human swooned and fainted as though dead. The other raised it’s arms heavenward as though to pray to Jehovah and mouthed the word, “Enoch.” It also fainted.

Eber and Asaph exchanged surprised glances.

_________________

At the edge of the Great Gulf, the time sphere rested. Paul and Sally were discussing the last minute plans with Gabriel.

“When the assignment is over, we are simply to start up the time vehicle and you will bring us here. Correct?” Paul asked.

“That is correct,” assured the Angel.

“And we are certain that we will be able to find our way once we land. Is that so?” Paul continued.

“That is so.”

“I certainly hope so,” Paul said without much faith.

“Paul, I am certain that we will succeed. Don’t you recall reading about it in The Bible? Moses wrote the whole story in Genesis. If it has already been written, isn’t that proof that we succeeded?” Sally argued.

“I guess so. I’m not so certain that it is going to be so easy; that’s all,” Paul said uncertainly.

“Nothing worth doing can ever be easy,” counseled Gabriel. “Didn’t one of your race write ‘Trial is the true test of mortal men’? My race accomplish every task assigned by His Majesty the Lord of Hosts because He gives us unlimited power. It is not so with your race; you must exercise Faith. So, in another of your race’s words, ‘do your duty and leave the rest to heaven’.”

“That’s easy for you to say,” conceded Paul, “you haven’t been asked to go along. Besides, you’re part of heaven.”

“Did you not agree to perform the task His Majesty the Lord of Hosts asked you to do? Why do you not trust Him for the unknowns?”

“I guess that I’m afraid of failing Him,” confessed Paul.

“Then recall what is written in your Scriptures: ‘Trust in His Majesty the Lord of Hosts with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.’,” the Angel quoted.

“Gabriel, are you sure you’re not a preacher? You remind me of my pastor back on Earth. He always has wise counsel for me when I question the Lord’s will for my life,” said Paul.

Gabriel replied, “Occasionally, His Majesty the Lord of Hosts commands us to announce some news to your race, but He has ordained that humans preach to humans. The least of my race could accomplish the task assigned to you with little effort, however, His Majesty the Lord of Hosts has not given it to us.”

“Well, Sally, let’s get on with our assignment, then. I’m ready when you are,” he expressed confidently.

“Ok, Paul. Gabriel, will we see you again shortly?” asked Sally, smiling to herself, happy to have the old Paul back.

“My little friends, I will be awaiting your return,” promised the Angel.

She started the computer. The sphere disappeared into the worm- hole over which Gabriel had positioned it.

Gabriel looked with angelic eyes towards the spot from where Sally and Paul had disappeared. He saw more than humans could imagine. He knew enough, though, not to question his King or his King’s ways.

“May His Majesty the Lord of Hosts keep watch between us while we are away from each other,” prayed the Angel. He turned towards his Sovereign’s abode and sped home at the speed of thought, reaching it in a twinkling of an eye fueled with desire to serve his King again. He entered the golden city amid much fanfare.

“Your Majesty the Lord of Hosts!”

Well done MY good and faithful servant, . . .

– Chapter 7 –

Sally turned on the forward camera. The video screen was awash with bright green. They had landed in the midst of a forest of ferns.

Paul read out the instrument readings into the tape recorder built into his console, “Date of landing: March 15, 3019 B.C. Time: 13:00 GMT. Temperature: 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Wind speed: 0-1 MPH E by NE. Humidity: 13.4%. Barometer: 35 . . . That can’t be right! Sally, can you check the auxiliary barometer?”

“Paul do we have to go through this? We’re on an errand for the Lord. This isn’t a scientific expedition,” she complained.

“Sally, there is no reason we shouldn’t do this by the book. After all, the Bible says ‘we are to do all things as unto Him’. So we’ll be scientists as unto Him,” Paul countered.

“Oh, alright. Wait a minute. Where is that barometer? Here it is. Mine says 35 also. Why did you doubt the reading?”

“Well, 35 is an extremely high reading. The highest reading I am aware of is just over 31,” Paul said. “The pressure must be greater due to the vapor canopy that surrounds the upper stratosphere.”

“Come on, Paul,” Sally begged. “I’m getting out of this cramped place.” She unstrapped her belts and crawled towards the exit port.

She heard Paul’s belts clink behind her. She whirled open the port and pushed out on the hatch. Immediately, the outside air forced its way inside. She nearly gasped as the air entered her nostrils.

“Paul, the air tastes different for some reason,” she exclaimed, “and it burns my nose.” She climbed out of the sphere into the patch of ferns.

Paul clambered after her, took a breath, and said, “It’s probably because the oxygen content is higher than we are used to. I didn’t finish all the measurements, so I don’t know for sure. Fortunately, the readings will be recorded automatically.”

“I’m sorry, Paul, but I couldn’t stand being cramped up inside a moment longer. Aren’t you excited about being here?”

“Well, of course I am. I suppose Armstrong was excited about landing on the moon, too. But you didn’t see him romping out of the lunar lander before he finished his checklist, did you?”

“Ok, Ok. Go back in there if you want to. I’m going to look around.”

“I will. You be careful and don’t stray far.”

She surveyed their landing area. All manner of foliage met her eyes. There were some familiar looking trees and other plants, but most of the species were totally foreign to her. Her ears registered a mixture of sounds. She heard roars, twittering, grunts, crackling, and thumping coming from the dense forest that began a little distance up the hill. Turning in the other direction, she saw a lazy brown river flowing off into the distance.

A few hundred yards upstream she noticed a group of curved tree trunks sticking out of the water. Suddenly the trunks moved. She stared in awe.

“Paul, come quick. What in the world are those things.”

Paul slipped down the hillock to her side. He looked in the direction of her pointing finger. “Why, I do believe that you’ve spotted a few dinosaurs. Let’s see. They appear to be Brontosaurs. I’ll go get the field glasses.”

He returned with the high powered glasses. “Yep, they’re Brontosaurs alright, or more correctly, Apotosaurs. So our scientists were wrong after all about inorganic evolution being the method God chose for creation. It seems that He did create all things in six literal days. Here, have a look.”

Sally focused the glasses on the herd of monsters. She saw one of the stupidest faces she ever saw staring back at her. It munched on a mouthful of ferns, some hanging from one side. It reminded her of a freckle-faced country bumpkin chewing on a straw.

“These creatures must have a negative I.Q. They are four french fries short of a Happy Meal! Why, they look like they would forget how to eat from one day to the next. How could God have ever created that?” she snorted in disgust.

“I think they are majestic creatures,” Paul disagreed. “Just because they are huge and slow doesn’t mean they are disgusting.”

“Well, you can have them,” Sally said as she turned back to the time sphere. She walked back up to the portal. She was about to enter when a loud roar and a snapping noise sounded high in the trees just beyond the sphere.

She looked up as a huge neck thrust out above the tallest trees. A round head with a frozen smile attached to it swayed back and forth. Its gaze fell upon Sally. It opened its wide mouth and let loose with another roar.

Paul called out, “Watch out, Sally! It’s a Brachiosaurus!” He started running towards her.

Just then the huge lizard took another step. The tree in its path snapped and fell down. Paul tackled Sally just as a large limb crashed down where she had stood. The beast moved on, having already lost interest in Sally. In fact, it could not even remember her; some new object had captured its attention, washing her totally out of its pygmy-like memory.

“That was close,” Paul breathed with relief. “You were almost squashed by the largest dinosaur to roam the Earth. Some Brachiosaurs were almost one hundred feet high and weighed over seventy tons. It would not have eaten you, but may have hurt you by accident.”

“How do you know so much about these things?” Sally asked.

“My parents took me to every museum they knew of. I also read every book I could find about dinosaurs. Didn’t every boy you know have an interest in them?”

“I didn’t ask them,” Sally said with disinterest.

They got up and Sally brushed off her clothes. Paul tugged at the branch and moved it away from the sphere.

“Oh no,” he cried. “Look here, Sally. The port cover was open and the branch fell on it and broke off the hinges.”

She looked at the cover. The hinges were snapped like plastic. “So what?” she asked. “Can’t you fix them? Certainly you have spare hinges it there. You have so much duplicate gear, I thought we’d never get it all in.”

“No, I don’t have spare hinges. I don’t even have any solder or glue that would hold it together. I don’t know what to do now. I knew we shouldn’t have come,” he blubbered.

“Paul, quit making a mountain out of this. Can’t we operate the time sphere without the cover?”

“Certainly not. The moment we would enter the worm-hole, if we could even get in, we would be sucked out into the thread. We’d be lost forever with no way out. This must be a punishment from God for my vanity to think that I could prove that His Word is true.”

“Do you mean we are trapped here?” she asked, fear beginning to register on her face.

“I’m afraid that we’re stranded. Here we are, over 5000 years before we were even born, with no way to return. What a cruel trick.”

“Paul, it doesn’t make sense. God would not lie, would He? There must be a way out of here. I just can’t believe that He would send us here and leave us.”

“The God I thought I knew wouldn’t. I’m not so sure now,” he confessed.

“Why don’t we try to find a village. We’ll sort this out after we get some rest and food. Speaking of food, do you see any fruit that you recognize?” Sally suggested, trying to get Paul’s mind off their dilemma.

“I’m not so sure we should eat anything. We wouldn’t be able to tell what’s poison and what’s not. I’m for trying to find a village. Let’s pick a direction and follow this river. I’d think that there should be buildings within a short distance of it.”

They covered the time sphere with the tarps and brush and trudged off after filling their knapsacks with some supplies. They had not packed any food in the sphere, since they had intended to arrive in Jerusalem at the time of Christ. They assumed that food would be readily available there.

Paul’s spirits lifted as they fought their way through the dense ferns. He tried to identify each new variety of plant they found. “This one looks like a type of pineapple. . . Look, there’s some type of giant grapes. They must be as large as oranges. . . Here’s a flowering orchid bush. Why, this is a veritable paradise.”

They both laughed at once as they realized the ludicrousness of his statement.

“I guess it would be proper to call this paradise, since it is only a little over one thousand years after creation,” Paul chuckled.

“I’m glad to see you laughing, Paul. I don’t know why this accident happened, but I’m sure God will see us through.”

“Yes, you’re probably right. I’ve been thinking a lot as we’ve been hiking. Maybe God just wanted to see how we’d trust Him. Well, I’m not going to worry anymore about it. It wouldn’t do any good anyway.”

“I’m so hungry, Paul. I’m about to try anything that remotely looks like it belongs in the supermarket. How much farther do you think we’ll have to go?”

“It will be twilight soon. We’ll have to stop and camp out under one of these trees before long. I’m sure we’ll find a dwelling tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow! I’ll be dead by then. I’m so thirsty. Can’t we at least drink from this river?” she complained.

“No. We have no idea about the germs that may be in there. We must wait until we are someplace where it will be safe.”

They continued their hike. Many times they had to hide from roving dinosaurs. Some traveled in herds, others seemed to prefer hunting alone. Occasionally, ear piercing squawks from above or gliding shadows on the ground ahead alerted them of flying reptiles. This only deepened Sally’s fear and disgust for the creatures.

Besides dinosaurs, they encountered many of the familiar species from their own time. They saw squirrels, rabbits, deer, and other forest mammals in abundance.

Paul stopped to look in the river from time to time. He would call out to Sally his findings, “Here’s some type of fresh water Brachiopod. Look, there’s a Trilobite. I’d give anything to be able to take one of these back to Henry Tyler, you know, the geologist from the lab next to ours at Cambridge?”

They continued onward, always following the river along its course. When darkness fell, they rested their backs against a large fern tree that reminded Paul of a giant artichoke. They could not trust a fire. It might serve as a beacon and draw some giant insects or other types of creatures, the thought of which made Sally shiver with fright.

Paul led in their evening prayer, “Lord, we do not understand your ways. Help us to trust you more. Watch over us tonight. May we find shelter and food tomorrow. Grant us wisdom to accomplish the task you have given us and help us to fix the time sphere, also. Answer our prayer according to your will. In Jesus’ name we ask, amen”

“Amen,” echoed Sally.

Sally lost track of the hours she shivered against Paul’s chest. Sleep came finally, winning the battle over her fears. She dreamed of home and huge plates of steaming food.

Paul was lost in thought. Over and over he examined the port hole cover in his mind. He turned it this way and that. He could see no answer. Soon he too, succumbing to his heavy eyelids, fell asleep.

– Chapter 8 –

“Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. Zillah
also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron.” Genesis 4:19,22
_________________

“Where is my food, woman?” Tubal-Cain heard through the locked door. He knew his father had come home in another of his foul moods and would soon be visiting the dark cubby-hole that was his prison.

“Zillah, get my food warmed while I see that idiot son of yours. Tarkel gave me an order for some more vine cutters, and he promised six skins of wine this time.”

Tubal-Cain heard his father fumbling at the chains that held the door closed, “Now where in Nod is that key? By Jehovah, here it is.” Tubal-Cain knew by the cursing that his father had been drinking again.

The door opened with a creak. In lurched his father, drunk as expected. “Tubal-Cain, get your lazy ass over here.”

He obeyed. The chains around his ankle allowed him barely to reach the arc that the large wooden door had worn into the earthen floor.

“Listen here, you melon head,” his father said, unleashing fumes of the sour wine he had drunk that day. “Tarkel wants three more vine cutters out of that black metal you make. I want them done by supper time tomorrow, you hear?”

Tubal-Cain tried to articulate his answer but only stuttered, “Y–Y–Y–Y.”

His father slapped his face, “Answer me, if you can you baboon faced excuse for a man . . . Never mind, you just have them done or I’ll get the whip . . . you know what that means, huh?” He lurched back through the door and pulled it shut.

“Come here, woman.” He heard his mother shriek as pans fell clanging to the floor. He shivered as he thought about what was occurring in the room beyond his reach.

Tubal-Cain rubbed his face and started crying, more in humiliation than in pain. He was a huge man, with muscles knotted like tree limbs from working at the forge in the corner of the room. As big as he was though, his father was much larger and many times meaner. He could easily get out of his chains, but feared for what Lamech would do to his mother. He remembered when his father once bragged about killing two men in a fight. Lamech had come home one night drunker than ever and had exclaimed, “Listen up, my wives. I’ve just killed one man for wounding me and a younger one for injuring me. Cain may be avenged seven times, but I’ll be avenged seventy-seven times. From now on call me ‘Lamech the Terrible’.”

Tubal-Cain looked up through the sky port in the roof. In his mind he breathed the prayer that he could never express with his lips, “Jehovah, please hear my prayer. Forgive my father for his actions. I only ask that I may be freed from this hole and take my mother away from his abuse. Perhaps one of the other Clans will ignore that we are from Cain and take us in.”

_________________

Paul woke up while it was still dark. A glow was just beginning to show in the East. He felt Sally’s head in his lap and stroked it gently. “Poor girl. What have I gotten her into? I’d be glad to bear the consequences for my own actions, but why did I allow her to be affected?”

He lifted her head and quietly slipped out from under her. He walked stiffly to the river bank and washed his hands in the cool water. He looked at the stars burning brightly overhead in the clear night sky. He could see all the familiar constellations and thought it strange that they hadn’t altered position much in the 5000 years ahead. He then fondly remembered the Guardians and their watchfulness.

Sally stirred and sat up. “Hello, Paul. Have you been up long?” she asked rubbing her sleep filled eyes.

“No, I just came down to the river to get a clearer look at the stars.”

“When should we get started?”

“We should start very soon. We may get a head start on some of the early rising monsters.”

“That’s fine with me,” she asserted with a shiver. They trudged off on day two of their trek. Their pace was markedly slower than the day before. They stopped often, feeling very fatigued. After several hours, they slumped under another of the giant artichoke trees.

“Paul, I don’t know about you, but I can’t go on much longer,” Sally confessed. “This heat is draining me. We’re going to need salt and water before too much longer. And I’m so hungry I could eat a dinosaur. It doesn’t help much that I dreamed of food all night.”

Paul would have chuckled if he wasn’t feeling so flushed. “I know, Sally. We’re much too weak to last long out here in the open. We didn’t need any food with our long trip with Gabriel. God obviously provided for us. Even so, we must have been weakened somewhat. I don’t know why else I’m so tired.”

“Paul, my head is exploding. I feel so flushed, too. And this itching …,” she stopped talking to lift her pants leg and scratch.

Paul noticed an angry swollen welt on her. “Sally, what is that? Did you get bit by something?”

He knelt to examine her. Probing the welt, he felt a knot under her skin. He pulled out his pocket knife. “Sally, I think that you’ve been bitten by a tick. I’ll have to open this welt and see.”

He quickly found the source of the inflammation. He plucked out a huge tick, gorged with Sally’s blood, and threw it into the river.

Sally fell asleep while he bandaged her ankle. He then examined his own legs. There were bite marks, but he couldn’t find any ticks. “This is swell, we probably slept in a nest of them last night,” he thought. He smeared salve on his bites and wrapped bandages around them. He lay back against the tree and was soon snoring.

He was dreaming of lying under a huge clothes dryer vent; its moist, hot air puffing in his face. The air smelled like rotten cabbages. . . He awoke with a start.

Inches away from his face, he saw a huge horned snout. Two more pointed horns stuck out over small, beady black eyes. A large wet tongue flicked across his nose and mouth. He jumped up and struck the beast. He mentally identified his assailant as a Triceratops and reached for a branch lying nearby.

The Triceratops belched out a roar. Sally jumped up and screamed, her fear renewing her strength. Another Triceratops joined the first near Sally.

Paul noticed that these were juveniles, remembering seeing skeletons that were twice as large. Armed with that knowledge and knowing they were plant eaters, he yelled to Sally, “Grab a branch. Try to scare them off.”

She weakly complied. They waved their branches at the dinosaurs, but to no avail. The two creatures thought it was a game and playfully tried to snatch the branches from their hands.

Paul heard other sounds coming from his left. Turning, he expected to see yet another beast. To his surprise, two half naked savages were running towards them.

Sally turned and also saw the natives; they were the most muscular men she had ever seen. Her last thought as her mind went blank, was of a cover from one of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Conan the Barbarian” novels.

Paul was astonished at the size of the savages. They seemed to be strong enough to break him in half with little trouble. Sally fainted at his side.

He could do nothing to aid her and felt helpless. Feeling faint himself, he placed his hands to his head. He lifted his arms in surrender and breathed the only word that came to his feverish mind, “Enoch.” He fell backwards and passed out.

– Chapter 9 –

This time Sally woke first. She was still somewhat groggy. As she rubbed her eyes, she spied the bowl of fruit. Hungrily, she crawled to it. She grabbed at a large piece that looked like a gooseberry and stuffed it into her mouth. Juice squirted all over. She didn’t care; her hunger made her forget all her manners. She had only lust for food. She gobbled the entire bowlful of fruit. Finished with that, she saw a cup of water and a saucer of a pasty looking gruel nearby. She gulped them down, almost choking in her haste.

Only then, with her hunger partially satiated, did she glance at her surroundings. It was a small room, with a single open window admitting the sunlight. Paul was lying on a pallet across the room against the other wall half dressed; naked from the waist up and clothed in a type of apron or loincloth.

Sally looked at herself. She wore a rough, woven skirt. She looked for her own clothes, but could not see them anywhere. She noticed a matted patch of leaves on her ankle in place of the bandage Paul had wrapped there earlier.

She hobbled to the window, wincing as pain shot up her leg. She looked out and saw a small village square. Men, women and children were everywhere. The men were as muscular as those she saw yesterday. Or was it today? She couldn’t be sure how long ago it was. The men wore only a little loincloth like Paul’s. The women wore a short woven skirt, like her’s.

She couldn’t help notice the vitality of the people. All were paragons of health. She could see no fat or sickly ones. They reminded her of the models found in health food commercials, all healthy and handsome. The only oddity was the skin color; she had assumed they would be darker, more tanned. Instead, they were very white as if they had lived their whole lives indoors, never seeing the sun.

The children laughed as they ran in their games of tag. They, too, were all healthy and strong looking; there were no cripples or weak ones. She wondered if any sickness or disease existed at all in the world during this time.

She heard Paul stirring and turned to him.

He awoke with a pounding headache. He looked up and through a haze saw a blurry figure in front of him. Gradually the figure grew clearer and turned into Sally. She wore some type of sack cloth. He looked at his own short loincloth.

“Where are our clothes? I can’t wear this thing,” he complained.

“I couldn’t find them. I just woke up a short time ago myself,” she answered.

“When our hosts arrive, we’ll just ask for our old clothes and tell them we dress like that where we come from.”

“Yeah, then when they ask where we come from, what do we say? The United States of America, 5000 years from now?”

“Well, we don’t have to tell the whole truth, do we?”

“No, they wouldn’t believe us anyway. But maybe we’ll have to be satisfied with these clothes. I can get used to them if you can,” she suggested.

“It’s not that I don’t like these, but I had some supplies in the pockets of my fatigues that I’d hate to lose.

“Do you know where we are? Who were those savages that found us?” he asked, changing the subject.

“I haven’t been able to find out yet. Oh, you’ll find some food next to your bed,” she remembered. “I’ve already eaten mine.”

Paul started in on his bowl of fruit, but with much less urgency than Sally had. “I suppose we’ll have to pass ourselves off as brother and sister,” he said between mouthfuls.

“I had already come to that conclusion myself,” she agreed.

“The first thing we’ll have to do is find where Enoch lives. I hope these people know him. I’d hate to wander through the jungle again looking for him,” he continued.

“Paul, how are we going to communicate with them? We don’t even know their language,” she asked.

“I never thought of that. I guess I just assumed that God would let us hear what they said in our own tongue,” he confessed.

At that point, the door opened and in walked the most beautiful woman either of them had ever seen carrying a large bowl of fruit. She was taller than Sally, with long brown hair hanging below her knees. She had an unblemished face, with pure white skin. Her shape was perfect. Paul’s hands could just about encircle her waist. Her legs were long and strong looking, yet not overly muscled.

“Good morning, Honored Ones,” she greeted.

Paul looked at Sally and Sally returned the look. They did not need to exchange words; they both understood the girl.

Paul answered, “And a good day to you. Where are we and who are you?”

“We are in the village ‘Falls of Kenan’. My name is Naomi. My brother Eber and his friend Asaph found you near the river two days ago. I will go and fetch them. They wished to see you as soon as you woke,” she answered and walked out backwards, bowing to them.

“Well, we sure can understand her. God must have made it possible for us to hear in English. Did you see her skin color?” Sally blurted as soon as the door closed. “All the people look like that.”

“It’s probably because of the vapor canopy overhead. The sun’s ultraviolet rays, which cause tanning and skin cancer, cannot get through,” Paul analyzed.

The door opened again admitting the two giant men they had met at the river earlier. They must have been camping out nearby, waiting for them to awake.

“Many welcomes, Honored Ones. We are pleased that you are our guests and that you are well again,” said one of them. “My friend Asaph and I brought you to our village and nursed you back to health. How is it that the Parsai ticks bit you? Did you forget and lean against a Parsai bush?” the one who must be Eber asked.

Paul answered for them, “We are strangers to your land and were not aware of the bushes and ticks of your area.”

“Where do you come from that you do not have Parsai bushes? Are you of the tribe of Cain?” asked Asaph

“No, we are not of Cain,” answered Paul. “We came to see one called Enoch. Do you know of him?”

“Enoch is my grandfather. You are in his village. He and my father Methuselah are to arrive sometime today,” Eber asked.

“If you are not of Cain, then what is your tribe?” asked Asaph. “Your clothing is very strange. We have never seen any like it. And you both are not very strong looking. Why are you so?”

Paul looked at Sally and raised his eyes in desperation. She took it as a hint and manufactured an answer, “My name is Sally and my brother is Paul. All our people are like us. We are from very far away and have traveled many day’s journey to bring news for only Enoch’s ears. The words come from Jehovah, Himself.”

At this, they all dropped to their knees. Eber said in awe, “Are you Prophets then? We must send for Micah our Prophet. He will know how to deal with you until Enoch arrives.”

Paul quickly tried to lift them from their knees. “Please rise. We’re not Prophets, but we do have words from Jehovah for Enoch. We do not know of your Prophet Micah, but would be very interested to see him after we talk to Enoch.”

“We will bring Micah to speak with you when my grandfather arrives,” Eber agreed.

At this point a loud disturbance arose from outside the window. “It’s father and grandfather. They have returned,” said Naomi.

“Come, let us go,” said Eber.

– Chapter 10 –

Eber and Naomi led Paul and Sally to the exit of the lodge. Asaph followed close behind. Outside, throngs of villagers were scurrying towards the village gate. Some stopped and stared at Paul and Sally.

Ignoring the stares, they surveyed the village. It was enclosed in a dried mud wall punctuated here and there by large stones. The lodges were made of some adobe-like material with log ends protruding in places. Each was two stories high and circled near the top by an open space about three feet high, crowned with thatched roofs.

As they drew near to the throng of people gathered around the gate, they noticed two men mounted on Triceratops. They were laughing and joking with the people close by. Behind the men, a Stegasaurus stood fitted with a type of harness and trailing a large travois. The travois was loaded with furs, piles of flint, pottery, and many other items.

Paul couldn’t help noticing the close resemblance between the two men. He leaned to Sally and whispered, “They must be Enoch and Methuselah. I wonder who is who.”

Sally whispered back, “I can’t tell. They look like brothers, not father and son.”

“How are we ever going to be able to tell Enoch what we came for? Do you think he’ll believe us?” Paul asked under his breath.

“I don’t know. We’ll have to get him alone somehow and tell him a piece at a time. I don’t think that we should dump the whole story on him,” she responded.

Eber and Asaph elbowed to the front of the crowd. “Grandfather, grandfather,” Eber called out, “there’s some strangers here to see you.”

One of the men dismounted from his beast and walked over to Eber. He was very strong looking. His skin was smooth; not one wrinkle could be seen. He seemed full of life; his eyes sparkling with vitality. He grabbed Eber by the shoulders and shook him. The two hugged each other and the man kissed Eber on both sides of his face.

“Welcome back, grandfather. There are two strangers that say they need to see you.”

“It’s good to be back, Eber. Have you seen all that we traded for the beasts? Your father out did himself this time. Where are . . .” he turned and stopped speaking when he saw Paul and Sally. His mouth opened wide as he stared at them.

Eber broke the silence, “These are the strangers, grandfather. Asaph and I found them near the river two days ago. They claim to have words from Jehovah for you, yet they say that they are not Prophets.”

Enoch seemed to take hold of himself, “Forgive me for staring, Honored Guests. I was not prepared to meet you so soon. I — uh — mean, I was not prepared to meet strangers. Let me get refreshed from my trip and I will meet you in my lodge for supper. Eber will attend to your every need until then.”

Enoch walked quickly away towards his lodge, ignoring all greetings from his friends.

“You must excuse my grandfather. Something must have happened on the trip to cause him to act like this,” apologized Eber. “Why don’t Naomi and I show you around the village? We’ll then go to dinner as grandfather wished and attend his birthday party.”

“That’s fine with me,” Sally agreed.

“And me too,” chipped in Paul.

“Let’s show them the falls first,” suggested Naomi. “They probably could use a shower anyway. I know that I could.”

“Yeah, a shower sounds good. I probably smell like a Brontosaurus by now,” Paul joked.

Nobody laughed. They were looking at Paul strangely, their foreheads wrinkled with confusion.

“What are you talking about, Paool?” Eber asked massacring Paul’s name.

“Nothing,” Paul said, “That’s just a common saying where we come from. Please, let’s go to the falls.”

“Paul, we have to be careful with our words. Remember, they’re not familiar with our terms or our world,” Sally whispered as they followed the others. They walked through the gate; the crowds parting to let them pass.

Paul and Sally could hear whispering from the crowd, but felt no ill will directed towards them. The people were merely curious about the new strangers in their midst.

The village was built on a high point overlooking the river valley. A stream cascaded over a cliff in a small falls about twelve feet high above the village. The villagers had built two adobe booths, one on each side of the falls. They had fashioned bamboo tubes into a water trough that carried water to the top of the booths. One booth was for the men, the other for the women.

Eber directed Paul to the leftmost booth. Inside, he removed his loincloth and prepared himself for a cold shock as he jumped into the spray of water. He was pleasantly surprised to find the water tepid, not ice cold. He later found out that the water collected in a small pool at the top of the cliff. The sun warmed the water there before it flowed through the rapids into the booths.

He looked around and saw a pile of roots without bark on a ledge. He wet one and lather appeared. “This must be a species of soapberry. I remember reading that the American Indians used a plant like this to wash with,” he thought.

He looked up at the shower head. It looked like a modern shower from his own time, however it was made from the pod of a large lotus-like flower. The water squirted through the holes left by removing the seeds.

Paul and Sally came from the showers feeling refreshed and clean.

“Paul, do you know that it has actually been years since we have had a shower? I’m so glad to feel clean again,” Sally said when they met. They were close to the falls and could not be overheard.

“You’re right! One year through the Great Gulf with Gabriel and one year back. That is, if the Lord didn’t move us back through the Gulf faster than we came in.”

Eber and Naomi joined them. “These falls are the reason for our village name,” Eber said acting the part of a tour guide. “Our great, great, great grandfather, Kenan moved here almost 600 years ago. He spied these falls from the river below and thought that this would be a good place to build.”

“I think he made an excellent choice,” Paul honestly agreed.

Their guests then took them on a whirlwind tour of the village. Their final stop before attending Enoch’s birthday party was the village square. There they saw the roasting pits and baking ovens. Some women who had just finished with their daily chores gave free samples to Paul and Sally. At one end of the square a group of maidens were weaving a new rug.

Sally quizzed them, “What is the rug for?”

The girls were too shy to answer but giggled as Naomi explained for them, “This is a marriage rug for the maiden called Beulah there. She is not betrothed yet, but is expecting that her family will announce her marriage contract at the next High Sun.”

“Who is she marrying?” Paul innocently asked.

The girls stopped weaving at once and lowered their eyes to the ground. Eber grunted in displeasure. Naomi turned to Paul and whispered, “Honored One, that is a most inappropriate question. You know that if she is not betrothed yet, she has no idea who her husband will be. I’m sure that you are not suggesting that she knows her man yet, are you?”

At this point Sally stepped in and again rescued Paul. “Please be sure that Paul did not intend to insult Beulah. Our customs are unlike yours.”

Eber walked over to Beulah and said, “These are our guests and are from a far away land. They are unfamiliar with our customs, however, they will abide by whatever you decide.”

Naomi looked at Beulah and asked, “Is this satisfactory?”

The maiden named Beulah did not answer but took up the shuttle and began weaving again. The other maidens resumed their tasks quietly as well.

“What did I do that was so bad?” sincerely asked Paul.

“I believe that you accused the girl of having premarital relations,” answered Sally.

“Naomi, I can assure you that I did not mean to suggest anything improper about that young girl,” protested Paul.

Naomi turned and said, “I’m certain that you did not. We could not possibly imagine you doing what you did with evil intent. We must therefore assume that you truly did not know what you were saying. However, we are at a loss to explain why you do not know these things. You are indeed strange people.”

Paul asked, “What must I do in retribution then?”

Eber replied, “You’re fortunate that none of her menfolk were present or you would be forced into combat with them. However, our custom allows two other options. One is that you must bring the dowry price that her father would have given when she marries. The other option is that you must marry her yourself.”

Paul choked and began coughing. “Marry her — cough — marry her? Why I can’t do that,” he stuttered. “I must return to my own land soon. It will be impossible for me to marry her. I can’t take a wife back with me. I’ll pay the dowry. . . Uh, what is the usual dowry price anyway?”

Eber replied, “Usually the maiden gives the equivalent of three Bison robes. Some may demand more for marriage to their sons.”

Paul dejectedly asked, “How am I to get three Bison robes?”

“How else? Go hunt for them,” Eber answered incredulously.

Paul confessed, “I have never hunted for Bison before.”

“Well, I’ll take you on a hunt then,” Eber said with confidence. “My friends and I can surely kill three Bison for you.”

“Here we are at grandfather’s lodge,” Naomi interrupted with excitement in her voice. People were still arriving. They entered the lodge with the late comers.

– Chapter 11 –

Tubal-Cain jerked his head towards the door, as he heard the faint tinkle of a key being inserted. The door eased open and his mother peaked around at him. “He’s gone,” she whispered as she ran towards him.

They hugged in the darkness. Tubal-Cain’s tears streamed onto his mother’s back.

“Just wait, son,” she sobbed into his shoulder, “Jehovah will answer my prayer; we will soon be able to leave him. Continue to bear it and don’t take matters into your own hands. Remember that vengenge belongs to Jehovah; He will repay.”

Tubal-Cain held his mother at arm’s length and noticed the bruise on the side of her head. He growled with anger, “Urrrrrruuuggghh!”

“No, son, it doesn’t matter to me. It didn’t hurt much.”

He breathed a promise in the deep silence of his heart, “I will repay. Mother, I swear I will repay.”

“What’s going on here?”

They both turned and saw one of “Lamech the Terrible’s” henchmen standing in the open door.

“Just wait ’till Lamech hear’s about this,” he warned as he turned and dutifully went to report to his boss.

Tubal-Cain and his mother looked at each other. They would both pay dearly for this miscalculation.

_________________

The room was dark as Paul and Sally entered the doorway. Their eyes soon adjusted to the abrupt absence of sunlight. The background noise stopped as soon as they had entered with their companions.

“These are the strangers who have come to speak with me,” Enoch proclaimed from a stool against the far wall. “Let us continue with the merriment and celebration.”

At this, the people turned away from the strangers and continued with their conversations. Several young maidens and boys brought food on large wooden platters. Some stern looking matrons watched their every move, adjusting this youth’s pile, pointing out some oversight made by another.

Paul surveyed the room. A fire was burning in the center of the lodge. The smoke rose and exited through a hole in the top of the thatched roof. Several torches burned along each wall, although Paul could not tell what type of oil was used. The guests sat on piles of animal furs on a packed earthen floor.

The food was excellent. Many types of fruit were offered. Hot vegetable dishes were also passed around. Paul noticed small pieces of meat in some of the dishes. It tasted very good, however he was not going to ask anyone what it was. Ignorance was truly bliss.

The feast continued for some time. The people were joking and laughing with each other; it was a very festive time. Some tried to pry information from Sally or Paul, but to no avail. Their lips were sealed; their information solely for Enoch.

A young girl, or boy — Paul wasn’t sure — became attached to Sally. He or she crept closer and closer until finally Sally coached the child onto her lap. The child climbed up like Sally was one of its relatives and known for years.

“My name is Havilah. I’m this many old. (It held up six fingers.) My father and mother are Uzal and Carin. They are over there.” Paul and Sally both looked to see two people carefully eying them back. They smiled and waved after a conference among themselves; they had arrived at a safe verdict about the company their offspring was keeping.

“I’m Sally and that is my brother Paul,” she white-lied, pointing to Paul. He waved to the child who smiled and hid its face between Sally’s breasts.

A man rose who looked a lot like Eber. Paul assumed he was Eber’s brother.

“Friends and Honored Guests,” he called out and bowed to Sally and Paul. “We are here to celebrate my grandfather’s 365th birthday –‘The Birthday of the Year Length’ as you all know. I also would like to make an announcement, so please give me your attention.”

The laughing and talking ceased.

“I am pleased to announce that as first born of Methuselah, my father has given me the right of Village Founding. I will be leaving after the next New Moon. All who wish to accompany me are welcome. Thank you.”

The people started applauding and slapping the man on his back. Paul overheard one say, “Why, Lamech, I’m so surprised. I never thought that you would leave this village. I figured you would stay with your kin forever.”

The man called Lamech replied, “Well, I think this village has too many people already. I want to travel and see what lies beyond our little valley. Remember from my Naming when the Prophet said that I would die before my father? Well, I don’t know how many years Jehovah has marked out for me. Besides, . . .”

Paul turned from the conversation and tapped Sally. “Hey, Sally! The man that made that announcement is Lamech. You, know — Noah’s father. I mean he will be Noah’s father. So he moves from this little village to a place closer to Turkey. Isn’t that something?”

“How do you know that?” she asked skeptically.

“Well, in Genesis it says that Noah’s ark landed in the Turkish mountain, Ararat.”

“Yes, but who knows how far Noah traveled in the ark? Remember he was in the ark for a whole year,” she countered.

“Oh yeah, I forgot about that,” Paul said thoughtfully, wondering why he hadn’t thought of that part.

Another man rose and signaled, “Attention, attention! It’s time for the gifts. Let’s all bring our gifts for Enoch.”

Enoch stood up from his stool. The guests filed by and gave their gifts to him. This reminded Sally of a receiving line from her own time.

The people had made all the gifts themselves. There were bowls of pottery, flint knives and arrowheads, capes of fur, feathered fans, and a multitude of other items. Some even gave gag gifts that were received in the good nature in which they were given — dried dinosaur dung and rotten Pteranodon eggs with funny faces painted on them.

After the time for gifts, the children ran up to sit around Enoch’s feet. “Tell us a story. Tell us a story,” they chanted gleefully.

Enoch teased, “You know that I don’t know any stories.”

“Come on, please tell us a story,” they cried louder.

Enoch sighed in jest, “Oh, well. Ok, if you insist.” The parents laughed and leaned forward with as much interest as the children.

Enoch began, “When I was a little boy, The First Ones — now what were their names? . . . I forget.”

“Adam and Eve,” the children all shouted.

“Right, Adam and Eve,” he continued. “Well, Adam and Eve came to the village and stayed for a few days. One night they told a story about the time Adam named all the animals. It seems that Jehovah brought each animal to Adam to see what He would call it. After Adam gave the name, Jehovah would ask, ‘Is this one a good mate for you?’ Adam would then reply, ‘No, this one is too big or too little or too ugly.’ Adam went through the whole line of animals until there were none left. He was feeling quite sad by now and he asked Jehovah, ‘Is this all?’ Jehovah replied, ‘No, I have one more for you, but you’ll have to close your eyes first.’ Adam closed his eyes and when he opened them, an orange orangutan jumped down from a tree on him and gave him a big kiss. Adam said, ‘Jehovah, is this some kind of joke?’ Jehovah then shooed away the orangutan and presented Eve. And you all know the rest of the story.”

At the mention of the orangutan, the people burst out laughing. Even the children laughed, looking from adult to adult, not catching the entire meaning to the joke.

“And now, children, can you sing ‘The Seven Day’ song for me?” Enoch asked.

“Yes,” they screamed in joy and began the song in unison:

“On the first day Jehovah made the light,
made the light, made the light.
On the first day Jehovah made the light,
and He said that it was good.

On the second day Jehovah split the waters,
split the waters, split the waters.
On the second day Jehovah split the waters,
and they were split in two.

On the third day Jehovah made the plants,
made the plants, made the plants.
On the third day Jehovah made the plants,
and they grew on dry land.

On the fourth day Jehovah made the sun,
made the sun, made the sun.
On the fourth day Jehovah made the sun,
and all the stars also.

On the fifth day Jehovah made the fish,
made the fish, made the fish.
On the fifth day Jehovah made the fish,
and the birds flew high too.

On the sixth day Jehovah made the beasts,
made the beasts, made the beasts.
On the sixth day Jehovah made the beasts,
from dirt beneath His feet.

On the sixth day Jehovah made our Parents,
made our Parents, made our Parents.
On the sixth day Jehovah made our Parents,
and called them Adam and Eve.

On the seventh day Jehovah, He made nothing,
He made nothing, He made nothing.
On the seventh day Jehovah, He made nothing,
but rested from His work.”

At the end, the children ran back to their parents amid much applause. Havilah returned to his place on Sally’s lap (by now they had learned he was a boy).

While the children were singing, Paul watched Sally. She had a smile on her face and moist eyes. Havilah turned often from his singing to see if Sally was watching him. Paul could not understand the lump that was working its way up his throat. Sally turned and caught his gaze. She smiled warmly at him and turned back to the children. Paul couldn’t tear his eyes away from her. She turned again and met his eyes, but this time did not turn back to the children. Paul cleared his throat awkwardly and looked at his lap. Sally took his hand and held on. He enjoyed the feeling.

Other types of entertainment followed the children — singing, dancing, music from some type of harp-like instrument. While a youth was juggling six coconuts, Paul leaned to Sally, “That was a clever way to get the children to remember the Creation Story, wasn’t it?

“Yes, we seem to use some of the same methods of teaching back home. You know, rote memory put to strains of music?”

“Yeah, I still remember some of the old nursery . . .”

The door to the lodge swung open noisily. Paul never got to finish his statement. All eyes turned to the man standing in the doorway. He was very large, and carried a staff. He strode into the lodge, closer to the fire. His hair was pure white, almost like wool. The people closest to him dropped to their knees and reached out to touch his furs as he passed them.

“Where’s Methuselah? I must see Methuselah,” the old man croaked.

“Here I am, Micah,” answered Methuselah from the crowd.

“Come with me,” barked the old man. He turned and caught sight of Sally and Paul. Walking to them, he looked first deeply into Paul’s eyes and then into Sally’s.

Turning to Eber, he ordered, “Bring them to me at midday tomorrow.”

He turned and walked through the door; Methuselah obediently followed.

“That was our Prophet, Micah,” explained Eber. People started leaving the party quietly. “We will see him tomorrow as he requested.”

“That’s fine,” said Paul, “but now we should see Enoch.”

They turned to where they last saw Enoch, but he was gone.

“You know, Paul, I get the strange feeling that Enoch is trying to avoid us,” Sally said.

“You’re probably right, Sally. We’ll force his hand after we deal with Micah tomorrow.”

– Chapter 12 –

“Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began
to call on the name of the Lord.” Genesis 4:26
_________________

Micah finished eating the meager bowl of gruel brought earlier by one of his daughters. He placed the empty bowl on a small table by his chair, leaned back and looked out of the smoke hole in the roof above his head.

“The sun will not rise for some while yet,” he thought. “There’s still plenty of time to pray for the villagers before the forest critters wake and begin their chattering.”

His custom for so many years was to pray for each family in the village before sunrise. He would then proceed from his lodge to the falls to watch the sunrise and have a special talk with Jehovah before taking his daily shower.

He completed his prayer time and walked to a special alcove in the corner of his sleeping room. He surveyed the items arranged on the table cloth with careful scrutiny. He brushed a speck of dust from one of the items and gently picked up a comb made from a pink colored shell.

“How Leah loved this comb,” he thought. “It was her favorite. I still remember her joy when I gave it to her in our 300th marriage year.”

Tears welled in his eyes. He wiped them with his free hand and placed the comb back in its hallowed spot. He took up a small, unfinished pair of sandals nearly covered with exquisite bead work. “Leah was making these when she departed. I’ve kept them for these many years.”

Warm memories washed over him. He remembered the fresh smell of her hair, the warmth of her hugs, the sound of her giggles when he tickled her feet. He would never forget their wedding day – she was twenty-five and he was forty-seven. She seemed so frightened when he had arrived at her father’s lodge to take her to his own. He had reassured her with his gentle voice and calm nature. He took her hand gently and led her out of her room, instead of carrying her as was the usual custom. That was so many years ago.

“How much longer, Jehovah? . . . How much longer?” he sighed, replaced the sandals and strode through the doorway. Advance rays glinting in the East announced the imminent arrival of the sun.

There were not many at the showers yet. A few were showering before heading to the hunt, some others just wished to beat the morning rush.

Micah climbed to his usual spot at the top of the falls. He watched the orange orb rise slowly as he had nearly everyday since becoming Prophet nearly 720 years ago. He recalled that day with explicit detail.

_________________

He was a young man of 30 then. His father Seth and his older brother Enosh were hunting fowl. Seth had just let loose with a well aimed arrow at a large male pheasant winging past them. The arrow sliced through the pheasant’s neck and removed its head in a quick, painless death. Micah ran to fetch the bird.

It fell behind several large boulders. Micah scurried around the boulders and almost stumbled over “Him”.

“He” stood with his back to Micah. The pheasant, alive again, sat on “His” shoulder preening itself. The pheasant then flew off with little concern in what appeared as slow motion.

Micah!” a voice shattered the silence.

“Yes, how do you know me? Who are you?” Micah had answered.

Micah, I AM. Remove your sandals. The ground on which you are standing is holy ground.

Micah dropped to his knees trembling after obeying. “Are you Jehovah?” he remembered asking in fear. “What do you want with me?” Micah recalled being aware of feeling dirty in “His” presence.

I AM THAT I AM. I AM JEHOVAH, the compassionate and gracious GOD, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet HE does not leave the guilty unpunished; HE punishes the children and their children for the sin of the father’s to the third and fourth generation.

Micah, MY children have become fruitful and are multiplying over the Earth. I desire to continue speaking with them, yet not face to face since they cannot withstand MY Presence in their sinful state.

I have chosen a new way of speaking. Men such as yourself will be MY voice. I will speak through you and the people will hear and may listen to MY words. They will then have no fear of dying in MY presence.

“How will I know your words, Jehovah?” Micah asked.

You will hear MY voice. It will be a still, small voice. I will not speak from the storm. I will not speak from the whirlwind. Yea, I will not speak from the flaming fire. I will only speak by MY SPIRIT to man’s spirit. You will know ME. You will be MY Prophet — MY foreteller and MY forth teller.

“May it be as you wish, Jehovah,” Micah had agreed.

Jehovah turned towards Micah. As He did, He raised His arm and held out His hand thus shielding Micah’s eyes from the awesome glow that shone from His face. Jehovah disappeared in a blinding flash of brilliance.

Micah remembered stumbling from the boulders in total darkness. He could see nothing. He called out, “Father . . . Enosh . . . help me.” His father and brother ran to him. They knew something extraordinary had happened. Unbeknownst to Micah at the time, his hair had turned as white as wool.

“What happened, son?” Seth had inquired.

“Father, I have met Jehovah. Jehovah wants me to be a Prophet. I cannot see; Jehovah’s glory has blinded me,” Micah had answered.

At this confession, his brother Enosh had dropped to his knees and lifted his eyes and arms towards heaven. Micah can still hear the emotion laden plea that his brother made on his behalf.

“Jehovah, please hear my request. Give sight back to my beloved brother so he can accomplish the purpose to which you have called him. I have heard of your great power and goodness; use it this day to restore his eyes. However, if it is not your will to do so, I vow to be my brother’s eyes for as long as he shall live.”

At first Micah had almost missed it. He then became acutely aware of a still, small voice echoing inside his mind. He repeated the words, “Enosh, I have heard your plea and am pleased with your love for Micah. Because of your unselfishness, I will restore your brother’s sight. You will not be required to lead your brother by the hand. Micah will speak for ME. Listen to him and obey. Thus says Jehovah.

_________________

As the warm sun’s rays summoned him back to the present, Micah remembered his daily request, “Jehovah, are there any instructions for today?”

The answer came, “Micah, it is time for you to choose a successor. Get you into the forest and I will instruct you.

Micah obeyed and entered the forest without taking his daily shower. His steps led him to a huge banyan tree. He entered the green tent made by the tree’s hanging branches. Sitting down, he waited on Jehovah’s instructions. He waited . . . and waited . . . and waited.

At nightfall he awakened with a start from the dream. He knew at once what he had to do. He ran to the village with a sense of urgency. He thought, “He will be at Enoch’s party. The strangers will be there also. There is much to do and so little time.”

– Chapter 13 –

The breakfast had almost been as disastrous for Paul as the day before had. It started out innocently enough; Paul and Sally were awakened from their deep sleep and taken to the falls for their morning showers. Upon returning to the lodge of Naomi and Eber, they sat out front with the rest of the family.

Eber’s mother came from the lodge and announced, “This morning we’re having eggs and flatcakes.”

Paul couldn’t believe his ears. “Did you say eggs and flatcakes?”

Eber’s mother looked at him and cocked her head, “Yes, eggs and flatcakes. Does this please you, Honored Guest?”

“Indeed it does. That’s one of my favorite meals back in my land,” Paul had said rubbing his hands. “I’ll have two eggs and three flatcakes, if you don’t mind.”

Eber’s mother dropped the stone pan she was holding breaking it into a thousand shards. Eber almost tripped over the chair he was moving.

“What did you say, Paool? Two eggs and three flatcakes? Why, no one I know of can eat that much. Even Asaph has only eaten two flatcakes, but never two eggs,” Eber said as he rubbed his skinned shin.

“Well, I intend to eat as much as I said,” Paul bragged, not seeing the feat at all noteworthy.

Eber’s mother brought out a large flat piece of marble and placed it over the fire. The stone was twice the diameter of a normal sized barbecue grill that Paul used in his own time. It reminded him of the marble slab his mother used to make Christmas candy.

“How many people are you cooking for, Rachel?” Paul asked Eber’s mother.

“Oh, just one at a time, Honored Guest. I will cook for you first. All our neighbors will be here to see you eat. We have never heard of such hunger.”

Paul was just starting to feel the pangs of wonder gnawing at his conscious, “Uh oh, what have I done now?”

People started gathering as Eber walked from the house carrying the first egg. It was as large as a watermelon; Paul felt sick. He had forgotten that chickens were not domesticated yet. The egg was from a Pterodactyl.

He edged over to Sally, “Sally, I think I’m in a little trouble.”

“Yep, it seems so. I wonder what they call a flatcake here?”

They found out soon enough. Rachel came out of the lodge with the largest puffball mushroom they had thought possible to grow. She needed help cutting through the puffball with a razor sharp flint knife. She and Naomi threw the large slice of “flatcake” onto the cooking rock, almost covering it.

Rachel put the golden brown cake on a wooden plate for Paul; it reminded him of a surfboard. Naomi brought a bowl of honey. A crowd circled him with much excitement. Small children would run up to him, goggle at the cake, cover their mouths and run back into the crowd.

He bit into the cake. It was delicious. He eagerly sampled another bite and another. Soon . . . too soon, the second cake appeared. Rachel asked, “Shall I cook the first egg now?”

“Yes,” he mumbled through a mouthful of flatcake.

Sally had seen enough. She took Naomi aside and explained to her Paul’s error. Naomi laughed long and loud. “Do not fret, Sally. I’ll take care of this.”

Naomi called her mother into the house. Rachel soon came from the lodge wiping her eyes. Only Sally knew that it was from laughing.

“Oh, how can you ever forgive us, Honored guest? We seem to have run out of large eggs and have only small ones. I will serve one of your renown eating feats with nothing but the best. Besides, I have found that the flatcake plant has a bad spot in it. I am so ashamed.” Rachel politely exclaimed.

“But, mother,” Eber interrupted, “We have more . . .”

“Don’t further our shame, Eber,” Rachel said in her mother’s tone of voice. “I will not serve inferior food to our Honored Guest. Away with you all. Shoo! Shoo!”

The neighbors moved away as Rachel chased them with a cloth. Some had seen through the facade and shook their heads and wagged their fingers at Paul, sitting with a mouthful of flatcake and honey.

“Isn’t it time to go to Micah’s?” Sally asked Eber. “We don’t want to be late. Do we?”

“Certainly not,” Eber agreed with an edge of fear. “Let’s go now. You and Paool will have to go hungry for now.”

They arrived at Micah’s lodge, but the old man was not there. Eber left them outside the door.

“Stay here until Micah comes. When he finishes with you, come back to my lodge.” He edged backwards while talking and briskly walked away when finished.

“This Micah must be some character,” Sally said when Eber was out of earshot.

“He certainly struck fear in me when I saw him last night,” Paul said. “How did you like him staring in your face?”

“It was a little uncomfortable, that’s for sure,” she replied.

“Thank you for coming. . . thank you.”

They started and turned. The old man, Micah had come upon them unawares.

“I see that Eber has left you and turned tail, eh? He always was an impetuous youth,” the old man continued. “Well, come in . . . come in,” he said opening the door. Sally had started to take a liking to the old man.

They entered a small clean lodge. The central cooking area was much smaller than the lodge of Enoch. A little sleeping room was at one end of the room, a few chairs and a table were the extent of the furnishings.

“Sit down . . . sit down,” Micah said. He placed his staff near the door and took a chair himself.

Sally and Paul sat at the table. Micah placed his elbows on the table, folded his hands, and leaned his chin on them. He looked from Paul to Sally and back to Paul.

“I’ve been expecting you for many years now,” he finally said.

Paul and Sally both looked startled at each other. Paul said, “What? You’ve been expecting us? How? And why?”

“It’s been about 50 years now . . . or was it 55? I remember it was seven years after our beloved Adam and Eve died. They died together, you know; in each other’s arms they were. I’ll never forget that day,” Micah reminisced. Paul and Sally kept quiet and politely gave their full attention to the old man until he turned to them again.

“Anyway, it was seven years later that Enoch came to me with the weirdest dream. He said that he had dreamed about two strangers coming to the village. They were sickly looking and had come to see him. At first he had thought they had come to him to get well, but then he heard a voice call out from heaven saying, ‘Enoch, Enoch, these are my messengers. They will come when your end is at hand. Hear them and follow them in all they say. I, Jehovah have spoken.’ Then the strangers disappeared and he would wake up.

“This dream repeated itself for one week before Enoch came to me for an interpretation. I fasted for three days and gave a sacrifice to Jehovah and asked Him for an explanation.

“Jehovah answered me and said that in due time, two strangers would indeed come, but that they would answer all my questions themselves. He also said that Enoch also would find His will then.” He ceased talking and looked from one to another, expecting answers.

Paul broke the silence, “Micah, we have indeed come from Jehovah. We are not Prophets like you, but are only mere humans. We will answer any questions you have, since Jehovah has indicated so already.”

“Tell me what life is like in your time?” he asked without hesitation.

“How did you know we were not of this time? Did Jehovah tell you?” asked Sally, impressed with his perception.

“No, I determined it myself; Jehovah did not have to reveal it to me. I know much about my people and have lived a long time among them. I have never seen such sickly forms as you have, even among the Clan of Cain. You also know very little about our customs. Jehovah has not indicated to me that any race exist from the stars above, therefore I knew you were from elsewhere. It follows that you must be from the future; I know too well the past.”

Paul agreed, “We come from 5000 years in the future. You’re right about our bodies being weaker than yours seem to be. It must be that the vitamins and minerals in the soil and food here in your time make you stronger and allow you to live longer. Actually, we’re not too bad as far as specimens of our race go. In our time, man is fortunate to live more than seventy years.”

“Pshaw! Seventy years? Why that is a mere child’s time,” Micah said in disgust. “Five thousand years,” he continued, “why mankind must have made giant strides with Jehovah’s help. I would love to see what has happened.”

“Well, it’s not exactly as rosy as you might think. Mankind has certainly made giant strides, but they have not kept their allegiance to Jehovah,” Paul apologetically said.

“Please explain,” requested Micah.

“In the future, for the most part, man departs from his faith and obedience to Jehovah. He will even start worshiping other gods; some that he makes himself out of stones, wood, or metal. Finally, man will start worshiping himself as God,” Sally interjected.

“How can this be? Doesn’t Jehovah intervene? He must stop this from occurring,” Micah passionately stated.

“Micah, even in your own time, haven’t you seen your people do things that you wonder about?” asked Paul.

“Well, I have heard stories that cause me to wonder. Most of them I assume come from the renegade Clan of Cain. But, now that you mention it, there have been some questionable behavior from among the Clan of Seth itself,” Micah said as he scratched his chin.

“Micah, in about 670 years Jehovah will destroy all your world except eight people from the Clan of Seth,” Paul exclaimed.

Micah almost fell from his chair, “What? . . . All but eight? Surely you jest.”

“No, it’s true,” Sally said, “only eight people — Lamech’s son Noah, Noah’s wife, three of their sons, and their sons’ wives will escape.”

“You see,” Paul continued, “the people of your time become very evil. Some even think that Lucifer and the fallen angels intervene in the affairs of man in such a way to cause them to cease being human. Anyway, Jehovah sends a great flood to wash away the whole earth. The Earth itself starts exploding from within and sends out large streams of molten lava flows. All the jungles, all the animals, all the villages, even all the geographical features of your world are destroyed.”

“Is there nothing that can be done? How can I stop my people from such evil? I will petition Jehovah . . . perhaps He will listen to me,” Micah said, wringing his hands in despair.

“I cannot say what Jehovah will do when you petition Him. I only know that what is written in the Book we call Jehovah’s Word is what I have revealed to you,” Paul sadly answered.

“Tell me more about those I know about. You mention Lamech and his unborn son. What about Methuselah and Enoch?” Micah asked, now in a calmer state.

“Methuselah will live to be 969 years old. He has the longest life of any recorded in Jehovah’s Word. We have a special task that involves Enoch, but we may tell no one but him,” Paul explained.

“I remember the words of Jehovah at Methuselah’s Naming,” Micah said. “He stated, ‘When his breath ends, it shall come to pass.’ What did Jehovah mean?”

Sally answered, “Jehovah meant that Methuselah would be a warning to the people. As long as he was alive, there would be a chance for them to change from their wicked ways. We know from Jehovah’s Word that Methuselah died . . . I mean will die the year of the Great Flood. Some believe that he died the very day of the Flood.”

Micah exclaimed with eagerness, “That sounds exactly like the words of Adam once when he came to the village. Adam said, ‘there would be hope as long as Methuselah lived.’ He also said, ‘Certain judgment and a total destruction’ would follow Methuselah’s death.

“Eve said of Methuselah that, ‘None would come closer to a day’s length.’ What did that mean?”

“It is written in Jehovah’s Word that ‘a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day.’ Perhaps Eve meant that no one would live closer to the age of one thousand than Methuselah. It sure seems like it,” Paul said.

“It seems that I’ve made a wise choice. . .” Micah stopped suddenly and looked up. He then asked, “What of Lamech? I remember Jehovah said, ‘His years would be three perfections.'”

“Well, Jehovah’s Word records that Lamech died . . . There I go again. I mean he will die at the age of seven hundred seventy seven. Some think the number sevech’s family.”

Micah rubbed his chin again, “You have given me much to think about. I truly thank you for your enlightenment. I’m sure there is much more we can talk about at a later time. I don’t know what Jehovah wants me to do with this knowledge, but we shall see tomorrow. Please leave me now. I have many other questions, but I must think and prepare for my duties.”

Sally and Paul left the lodge. Micah sat for a long while at his table. He finally went into his sleeping room, giving only a cursory glance to the items still on the small table.

Micah lay down and began weeping, “Jehovah, I am very troubled. I have heard that Your people will forget both You and Your great goodness to them. Oh, help me to bring the message of Your great love to them. If they repent and change their ways, perhaps You will hear from heaven and change Your mind and not destroy them. Oh, Jehovah, I’ll do anything to save them.”

He sobbed and sobbed. Finally sleep overtook him; he dreamed.

Micah! Awake to your reward! His Majesty the Lord of Hosts has sent me to carry you to Paradise,” a Voice interrupted his dreams.

I obey . . . my Lord God Jehovah! . . . Leah!

– Chapter 14 –

They overheard Rachel speaking as they passed through the lodge door, “. . . noticed that he was not at the falls as usual. They went to his lodge and found that he had died in his sleep. Oh, here are our Honored Guests. Please sit down. We’re afraid that we have some bad news for you.”

Sally and Paul sat as ordered. Rachel continued, “It seems that our Prophet Micah died in his sleep last night after you had visited him.”

“Oh, no,” cried Sally. She got up and ran into the lodge weeping. Paul followed her.

“Sally . . . Sally,” he called. When he went into their room, he found her on her pallet sobbing.

“Sally, what’s wrong? Why are you taking this so hard?” he asked.

“Don’t you see?” she stammered between sobs, “He wouldn’t have died if we hadn’t of told him all that we did. We are responsible for his death. And I was beginning to like him, too.”

“Sally, we aren’t responsible. You remember that he said Jehovah indicated that we would tell him everything? God must have wanted him to know this before He took him in death.”

“That doesn’t make sense. If God wanted to take him, He could have done it before we saw him.”

“That’s right. However, God wanted it this way,” Paul tried to explain.

“Well, I don’t like it. What if we cause others to die because we are here. I don’t think I could stand it. Besides, I am beginning to grow fond of all these people,” she buried her head in the pillow and continued to sob.

Paul left her and returned to the others.

“How is Sally?” asked Rachel upon his return.

“She’s taking it pretty hard,” replied Paul. “She thinks that we are responsible in some way.”

“Responsible? Why would she think such a thought?” Eber asked. “Jehovah gives and Jehovah takes back; blessed be the name of Jehovah. As far as I know, only the rebel Cain has taken another’s life.”

“Well, let us give her time to get over this. She was beginning to like Micah,” Paul continued.

“We all were very fond of Micah,” said Rachel, “especially Eber’s father. By the way, where is he? I haven’t seen him since he rose before sunrise today. We will be called to the Wake before too long.”

Eber responded, “I haven’t seen him either. Would you like for me to hunt for him, mother?”

“No, he’s probably up with his beasts. He’ll find out about Micah before too much longer when the wailing begins.”

Paul was curious and turned to Eber, “What will happen at this Wake?”

“Micah’s body will first be prepared for burial and laid out in his lodge. The village will mourn for several days until his father arrives.”

“You mean Seth is still alive?” interrupted Paul.

“Why sure, he’s just a little over 850 years old now. He lives in the village of Adam, named after his father, the First One. That is the village my great great great grandfather, Kenan left when he received the right of Village Founding. It’s only three days journey from here. I’m sure that runners have already been sent to inform him,” Eber explained.

“I can’t believe it,” said Paul. “I’ve never told you, Eber that I’m related to you. It’s one thing to see my direct relatives Enoch and Methuselah, but actually to see Seth who was born from Adam and Eve is almost too good to be true.”

“What do you mean you’re related to me? You’re not from the clan of Seth. You said you’re from a long way from here. How can this be?”

“I’ll explain it to you someday,” promised Paul, “but finish explaining about the funeral.”

“Well, after Seth arrives, we’ll take Micah’s body and bury it in the place of Seth’s choice. All Micah’s belongings will be buried with him also.”

A shrill arose from the direction of Micah’s lodge. Paul turned and saw several women sitting in front of his lodge throwing dust into the air. The women were rocking back and forth and threw their heads back to wail towards heaven.

“They are Micah’s daughters,” explained Eber. “He has seven daughters and two sons that still live in the village. Four other daughters married men who have since left to found villages of their own. Micah’s wife, Leah, died many years ago — long before I was born. His offspring must start the wailing. Then others from the village will join them in their grief.”

“How long will they mourn? And who will see that they get food?” asked Sally, joining them having regained her composure.

“They probably will mourn until Seth arrives. It may be six or seven days from now. Each family chooses one to cook and take care of the young ones during the mourning period. This way all needs of the mourners are seen to.

“My father tells me of the mourning for Adam and Eve. He said that it lasted for a whole year. Each Clan took one whole month to mourn.”

“I can understand that. They must have loved Adam and Eve very much,” Sally said.

“They still talk warmly about them. I’m sorry that I never got to see them,” Eber said remorsefully.

“We feel the same way. Eber, would it be alright if I joined Micah’s kin?” asked Sally.

“I’m sure they would appreciate it. Paul and I will go and gather some flowers.”

Sally walked toward the grieving women and Paul followed Eber to the forest. The didn’t have to go far before encountering the most beautiful arrangement of colorful flowers that Paul had ever seen. The whole forest was alive with color. They each picked an armload and carried it back to Micah’s lodge.

They noticed many women and men had joined those in front of the lodge. Sally was there, caught up in the emotion of the event. It was apparent that Micah had been truly loved by the whole village. More people were streaming from their own lodges.

Eber directed Paul to the doorway. Paul followed him in and got in line behind others who were also carrying flowers. As he got closer to Micah’s bed, he saw a huge pile of flowers covering him like a quilt. Eber gently placed his flowers on the pile and looking up, breathed a silent prayer.

Paul followed his example and did likewise. As he rose and filed out he thought, “This must be why we send flowers in my own time to funerals. This custom from the pre-flood civilization must have survived the flood with Noah. I wonder how many more customs did.”

Eber joined the group wailing and throwing ashes. Paul was not yet comfortable with this custom so he went back to see if Rachel needed help.

“Rachel, if you would like to join the others, tell me what needs done and go,” he said to her as she scurried around the lodge.

“Thank you, Honored Guest, but Naomi will spell me. Why don’t you just rest or help others gather flowers?”

Paul decided to go to the jungle and think about the strange events of the day. He did not stray far, keeping the walls of the village well in sight.

– Chapter 15 –

The next few days were identical to the first day of mourning for Micah. Sally would join the villagers in front of Micah’s lodge and Paul would help gather fresh flowers and see to it that food was available for the mourners.

It was on the fifth day of mourning that Seth arrived. Seth was lying on a bed in a sling carried on the shoulders of two young men. He was very much distraught and apparently overcome with emotion about the death of his son. He was helped out of the sling by others of his entourage and leaned on them for support. He was a very handsome man with hair just beginning to turn silver around the edges. He carried a staff with some sort of emblem on it. Paul found out later it was the Clan symbol – Clan of The Seed.

Paul and Sally were in the front line of those who had gathered around Seth’s party. As Seth passed by them, Enoch pointed them out to his Clan head, “These were with Micah just before he died, Clan Father.”

Seth turned to them with curiosity. “You must be the strangers. Did my son have peace the night you were with him?” he asked.

Paul knelt on one knee and responded truthfully, “I’m sorry, beloved ancestor. We talked about many things and I’m afraid that most of the areas we covered did not bring comfort to Micah.”

“Are you from my Clan? I’m not aware of you or your kin. We must discuss this more. I’m interested in what you and Micah talked about.”

“At your command, my beloved ancestor,” Paul concluded. The party continued to Micah’s lodge.

Sally turned to Paul and said, “I’m impressed with how you handled that.”

“I just couldn’t tell him anything but the truth. Besides, I have a suspicion that he knew the answer to his question. We’ll tell him anything he wishes to know.”

“But, Paul. . . would it be wise to tell him? He will live for nearly sixty more years. Don’t you think he may tell something to his kin that may cause Noah to act in some way differently than history recorded?”

“No I don’t. I think God controls time and the outcome of history more than we ever thought possible. Remember how Micah said that Enoch had that dream about us seven years after Adam and Eve died?”

“Yes.”

“Well, God was at work preparing them for our arrival over 5000 years before we were born. I think that He can handle things if we tell Seth everything, except our task concerning Enoch.”

“Well, alright, if you think so,” she reluctantly agreed.

After Seth and his party received some food, they were escorted to Micah’s lodge. Seth climbed the steps unaided, but needed support upon entering the doorway to the lodge. He wept openly and loudly, “Oh my beloved son! Why did Jehovah take you before me? You were the instrument for His words. How shall we hear now?”

Seth and his son Enosh fell upon their faces before the pile of flowers that covered Micah. The others left them alone with their son and brother.

Outside the wailing had ceased when Seth had arrived. The people took this time to go to their own lodges to cleanup and eat. They returned a short time later with clean faces and clad in fresh clothes. Seth and Enosh were still inside.

A roar arose at the village gate. Paul and Sally were standing together in silent reverence with the others outside the lodge of Micah. They turned towards the gate with the others. They could hear a chant gradually growing louder as the people passed it on, “A new prophet exists! Praise be to Jehovah! He has not forgotten His people. Long live the new Prophet!”

The crowd parted and they saw a man striding towards them. At first they could not recognize him. They noticed that he had white hair, just like Micah had. As he got closer, they heard the man’s name being repeated, and they recognized him themselves.

“Methuselah! Long live the new Prophet! Long may Jehovah prosper Methuselah!”

Methuselah walked up to the doorway of Micah’s lodge. He paused at the door and turned to the people. They quieted down and waited on his words with expectation.

“My friends and family, it is a sad day because of the death of our beloved Micah. But hear the words of Jehovah, ‘Precious indeed is the death of Jehovah’s beloved.’ I tell you all a mystery, thus says Jehovah, ‘All who put their trust in ME shall dwell with ME forever in MY house. None who trusts in ME shall be left in Sheol, but will be raised again to walk with ME in newness of life.'”

At this victorious proclamation, the people were left to wonder at his words in stunned silence. Seth then appeared at the doorway carrying Micah’s staff. He handed it to Methuselah, “Here, you will be needing this. Micah would have wanted you to have it. May you use it to honor Jehovah as Micah did. Come, let us go, I’m ready for the burial.”

Several young men picked earlier for the task went in to the lodge. They returned carrying the pallet with Micah’s body covered with the mound of flowers.

The procession filed out of the village gate into the forest led by Seth. A short time later, he stopped and pointed, “There! We will bury him there. I feel that he would want it so.”

They buried him there, beneath the huge, spreading banyan tree.

– Chapter 16 –

Seth, Enoch, and Methuselah had summoned them only minutes earlier and were waiting for them as Sally and Paul shyly entered the lodge door and took the seats that Enoch directed them to.

Seth broke the silence, “I trust that you are not too upset that I am here. I wanted to hear about my beloved son Micah’s last concerns. Jehovah has used him mightily these past years that he has been a Prophet and I have been very proud of him. I’m also pleased that Jehovah has chosen my descendant Methuselah to replace Micah.” He directed a proud look towards Methuselah at the last statement. Methuselah nodded his head in reply.

Paul cleared his throat, “I am indeed pleased that you are here, Honored Ancestor. I did not expect such an honor when Sally and I started on this mission. We came here in obedience to Jehovah’s commands and thought that our message was for Enoch’s ears alone. It seems, though, that Jehovah intended for us to speak to you two, also.

“I don’t rightly know where to start, so I’ll just start from the beginning. Sally and I are from the far distant future — 5000 years from now to be exact.”

The three men exchanged shocked glances between themselves. Seth said, “Five thousand years future? No wonder I didn’t recognize you as my kin. Please go on.”

“You, Seth are blessed by Jehovah to be the ancestor of all human beings of our future, including Sally and myself.”

“Praise Jehovah! Blessed be the Clan of the Seed! Blessed be the Clan of Seth! The Seed of Woman will bruise the Serpents head,” prophesied Methuselah, “though the Serpent shall bruise His feet.”

“My mother and father used to repeat that same phrase to me. What does it mean that the Serpent will bruise the seed?” questioned Seth.

“I’m sorry, but Jehovah did not give me permission to talk of anything except a coming judgment upon your world,” apologized Paul.

Sally now spoke, “Seth, as Paul stated earlier, your line will continue beyond the coming judgment from Jehovah. Methuselah will be the oldest human and will live right up to this judgment.”

All the men turned to Sally as if they had forgotten her presence. Seth asked, “My young girl, what is this judgment you are talking about?”

She continued, “Your world will grow more and more evil until Jehovah destroys every living thing, including man. He will send the waters from above to cover the entire earth in a great flood about 670 years from this very year. Only eight people from the Clan of Seth survive. Those eight become our ancestors and re-populate the earth.”

“What? Only eight survive? Why there are millions of Adam’s race upon the whole earth. What of the Clans of Cain and Elrond and the others?” Seth demanded.

Paul interjected, “As Sally said, they will all perish. Micah also could not believe us when we told him of Jehovah’s plans. But even in our times, men have become wicked. Jehovah tells us of a coming judgment on our world, also. He says that it will be with fire in the Last Days instead of with water like in yours.”

Enoch rose from his chair and slowly walked to the door. He paused and looked outside at the sky and began to speak as if drugged, “See, Jehovah is coming with thousands upon thousands of His holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” He came to and shook his head as he turned towards the others.

“Father, have you too become a Prophet?” asked Methuselah.

“No, my son, I have not. I just heard these words in my mind and had to repeat them,” Enoch answered. “I don’t what they mean, though.”

Seth interrupted, “Let the strangers continue. Tell us now about your task among us. Why has Jehovah sent you?”

Paul replied, “We have come to see Enoch. Our task is concerned with him and him alone. Please do not ask me about that task; we have been ordered by Jehovah to tell no one but him.”

Seth rose from his chair and walked over to a corner of the room. “Very well then. I also have something to proclaim. I now know why I had an uncontrollable urge to bring these with me. They have not been out of my sight since I received them from my father, Adam.”

He brought back two bundles wrapped in furs. One bundle he placed at his feet, the other he took to the table and removed the covering of furs. “Come and see,” he said.

All gathered around him and saw a parchment scroll with strange cuneiform writings upon it. Paul and Sally tried to read it, but God’s gift of understanding the language of that time did not cover this writing. “Please read it to us,” asked Paul.

Seth, picked up the scroll and began to read,

“‘These are the writings of Adam and the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

‘When Jehovah Elohim made the earth and the heavens, no shrub of the field had yet appeared upon the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up; . . .

‘And Jehovah Elohim formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being . . .

‘Jehovah Elohim took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And Jehovah Elohim commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you shall surely die.” . . .

‘Then Jehovah Elohim made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man. . . .

‘Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals Jehovah Elohim had made. . . .

‘To Adam He said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; . . .

‘Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. . . .

‘So Cain went out from Jehovah’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.’

Thus ends the words of Adam.”

When Seth finished reading, Sally leaned over to Paul and whispered, “This sounds remarkably like Genesis, chapters 2 through 4.”

He whispered back, “It is. So Adam did write an account to be passed on to Moses.”

Seth was continuing, “. . . so that is why I am giving the writings of Adam to you this day, Methuselah. You will determine what must be done with them, since you will live longer than any other.”

“Thank you, Beloved Clan Leader. I will do the will of Jehovah,” Methuselah bowed and accepted the scroll.

“I also brought one other item,” said Seth. He went over to his chair where he had lain the second bundle. Very carefully he picked it up and brought it to the table. Before opening the bundle, he closed his eyes and seemed to be praying under his breath. Finally he opened his eyes and began to unroll the furs, uncovering a beautiful black stone tablet. It was polished like granite and, like the parchment of Adam, was covered in cuneiform markings; however, these were very neat and precise looking. Paul couldn’t help wondering if they weren’t cut in by a laser beam, they were so exact.

“This tablet was also given to me by Adam. This is the Tablet of Jehovah. Listen to His words. As Seth read, those present felt weighted down and unconsiously sank to their knees.

‘In the beginning Jehovah created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of Jehovah was hovering over the waters.
‘And Jehovah said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. …
‘And Jehovah said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters …
‘And Jehovah said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered …
‘And Jehovah said, “Let the land produce vegetation …
‘And Jehovah said, “Let there be lights in the expanse …
‘And Jehovah said, “Let the water teem with living creatures …
‘And Jehovah said, “Let the land produce living creatures …
‘Then Jehovah said, “Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness, and let them rule …
‘And Jehovah blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.’ Thus ends the words of Jehovah.”

Seth replaced the stone tablet on the table. All were silent for several minutes.

“My word, how awesome! Written by the finger of Jehovah Himself!” Sally finally exclaimed, unable to contain herself any longer.

– Chapter 17 –

Seth and his entourage had departed two days earlier. Eber, Asaph, and Paul were sitting together after breakfast.

Eber suddenly announced, “Paool, let’s go hunting tomorrow.”

Asaph eagerly agreed, “Yeah! Let’s go hunting. I’ll get some of the group together. Eber, you get some beasts. We’ll need one Plate Back and five Jarsewehs.” He was a born organizer.

“Do I have any choice in this?” asked Paul.

“No! You have to go get the dowry,” Eber said.

“What? Why does Paul need a dowry? Is he giving his sister Sally away?” Asaph asked with interest.

“Don’t ask, Asaph. It’s a long story,” Eber responded. “Come on, let’s get all the things ready.” Eber was as much a leader as Asaph was an organizer. They parted to get ready for the hunt.

“Paool, watch and I’ll show you how to make spear points,” Eber said as they walked through the village square.

Eber took a large piece of flint and, after studying it for a minute, flung it to the ground. Several large and many smaller shards broke off. Eber picked up the largest of these and took a short piece of hard wood from the pouch by his side. Using the branch like a pry, he flaked off pieces down one side of the flint. He repeated the procedure on the other side. In less than ten minutes, he had produced an almost perfect Folsom point spear head.

“Here, Paool, I’ll finish it later on the hunt. It only needs to be sharpened a little,” Eber said as he turned the point over in his hands to examine it and gave it to Paul. “I’ll attach it to a shaft and you can use it to kill your first Bison.”

“Thanks lots,” Paul said lacking Eber’s exuberance.

The next morning they packed up several sacks of provisions and loaded them on a travois attached to a Stegasaurus, the same one that had accompanied Enoch and Methuselah on their last trip.

Sally walked with Paul to the gate, “Now you take care of Paul, Eber. I don’t want anything to happen to him; we have to return to our own land soon and I can’t do it alone.”

“Don’t worry, Sally,” bragged Asaph. “Paul is with the two best hunters in the village. Methuselah is The Prophet now and he won’t be hunting anymore; that leaves me and Eber as the best.” Asaph was giving Sally more attention now, since believing Paul’s quest for Bison skins was somehow related to Sally. He had reasonable expectations, or so he thought.

Two other men joined them at the gate and were introduced as Tannel and Zadok. Methuselah also came to give a short send off prayer, “Jehovah, please be with these young men on their hunt. Direct them to the animals that You wish to be slain and may they have a quick and painless death. Do not allow any animals to be wounded or to suffer. Bring the hunting party all back safely. So may Your will be done.”

The men mounted their beasts and set off. Paul glanced back at the gate and waved to Sally until the jungle swallowed up all vestiges of civilization. Two hundred yards into the jungle and Paul was totally lost.

“How far do we have to go before we find any Bison?” Paul asked. Immediately he thought of the proverbial small boy in the back seat of a car headed down the street on vacation quizzing his parents, ‘How much longer? Are we there yet?’

“The Great Plains are two days North,” answered Eber. “Many herds are there; the jungle is no home for them since they love the open spaces. Even then, it may take days to locate any Bison.”

“Will we see any of the large beasts there also?” Paul asked.

“Ha! We’ll see more Long Necks1 than you’ve ever seen in the jungle,” Asaph replied. “We will probably see some of the large Many Tooths2 and maybe even a King Tooth3 or two.”

Paul assumed that the King Tooth would be the dreaded Tyrannosaurus Rex and prayed that they would not cross paths with any of that species.

They went for many miles at a good clip before stopping for lunch. The Triceratops were very quick footed and sturdy animals. Paul had expected them to lurch like elephants or camels and was happily surprised at the smooth ride. On the way, Paul asked many questions about the plants and animals they encountered. He became increasingly aware of the infinite nature of God when confronted with the great, seemingly inexhaustible variety of creation.

After lunch, they mounted up again. The jungle went on and on, but Paul was not bored. Finally they stopped for the first night. They built a small camp fire and gathered around it. They all took turns telling stories. Paul tried to tell them about his own time and land without revealing too much.

Eber said in reply to Paul describing automobiles as travois without animals, “I just can’t understand how the travois can move on their own. What makes them go?”

Paul was at a loss to explain further until he glanced at the Stegasaurus that had so patiently drug its travois loaded with their supplies. The beast was munching the ferns that Eber had gathered for it. He suddenly got an idea, “I know how to help you understand somewhat. Tomorrow, I’ll make something for our Plate Back and you’ll see!”

The men then turned to joke telling and good natured ribbing of one another. Paul was impressed that no sexual innuendoes or dirty stories at all were shared. These men were paragons of virtue compared with the men of his time. Paul realized that they were sinners, because the Bible declared all men to be so; but they were so much closer to the innocent state than the men he was used to dealing with.

As Paul wiped tears from his eyes from one of the jokes Zadok had shared, he thought, “If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was on a fishing trip with some of my buddies from my own time. It seems that all men act like boys when they get together.”

The next day was also spent inside the jungle. They traveled until dusk, like before. Eber announced before they turned in for the night, “Early tomorrow, we’ll be at the Great Plains.”

Nothing could have prepared Paul for that first glimpse of the Great Plains as they suddenly burst through the dense growth of the jungle. As far in any direction he looked, he saw grazing herds of animals and lush green vegetation. This was what the Serengeti plains of Africa or the Great Plains of America must have looked like before the white men had invaded them.

There were many animals that he recognized — caribou, ibex, impalas, and other species native to Africa in his own time. But most of the animals were foreign to him, having become extinct long before his time.

“Paul! Look! A herd of Long Necks is coming,” Asaph called.

Paul looked in the direction he was pointing to and saw a group of very large land animals hugging the area between the edge of the jungle and the great plains. As the animals drew closer, he identified them as Brachiosaurs, the same species that had caused the damage to his time vehicle and the largest land animals ever to walk the earth. The herd approached quickly, because their strides were some 20 to 30 feet in length. The eldest and therefore largest animals surrounded their young, which scampered along inside this protective circle. The herd passed the men mounted on their Triceratops without so much as a second glance. These creatures were truly masters of the earth; even the great Tyrannosaurus Rex would not attack a healthy member of this species single handed. Paul noted that he could have easily ridden under the largest member of the herd standing on his Triceratops and still not touch its belly.

Paul caught a flash of gold out of the corner of his eye and turned just in time to see a beautiful golden, horse-like creature with a horned snout racing across the plain. “What is that?” he cried out to no one in particular.

“That is a Yerry,” answered Eber. “It is the quickest creature known. No one can catch one. It is even too smart to be tricked into any trap. Isn’t it beautiful?”

Paul watched in awe as the Yerry, or Unicorn as legend had named it, raced on. He knew of certain cats, especially the Cheetah, which could run for short distances at more than 60 MPH. This creature, however, sustained its high speed until out of sight; he estimated it to be going faster than 70 MPH.

They continued onward in their quest to locate a Bison herd. Paul asked Eber, “Why do you use Bison furs as a dowry? Certainly some of the other beasts have better skins, don’t they? And why three of them?”

Eber answered, “We use the Bison because of its appearance. Jehovah created the Bison with a beard. To us a beard represents wisdom, which is why our elders are respected, because of their wisdom. The Bison skin is given as a symbol of Jehovah’s wisdom, which is required in any new family. The new household will require His wisdom in many areas of life — living together apart from the old families’ influence, raising the children in knowledge and obedience to Jehovah, using one’s skills for the good of the village — these are but a few. Three robes are required, since the family starts out with three members — Jehovah, the man, and the women. Later, as the man and women become one, children are born and the family is again made up of three parts.”

“I see,” Paul said rubbing his chin. “I never expected such an answer. I just thought it was a physical thing, not symbolic. You people never cease to amaze me.”

They soon noticed a circle of birds in the distance above a group of animals. As the drew closer, they saw a large Brachiosaurus lying on its side, obviously dead. The air was ripe with the stench of over 70 tons of dead flesh, which served as a beacon for every scavenger within miles. Many small lizards could be seen darting between the legs of their larger carnivorous relatives. Paul could identify only a few of the species he recalled from his dinosaur books.

He saw a small hen-sized Compsognathus riding on the feet of a larger lizard and scavenging pieces of meat that fell to the ground. The six foot Stenonychosaurs were outsmarting the larger, dumber beasts by feinting movements one way and turning quickly to grab the choice sections of meat right out from under their noses. Slender Saurornithoides with their large eyes were off to one side neatly licking their long, thin fingers after each bite.

Suddenly a huge, hideous head appeared from behind the large mound of dead flesh. The head wrenched backwards ripping a flapping piece of muscle tissue from the Brachiosaurus. It gulped down its repast with a sickening slurping noise and standing erect fastened its eyes on the passing troupe.

“Eber! Lookout! It’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex!” Paul called out in desperation.

Eber looked at the large meat eating dinosaur casually as if staring at a cat and turned back to Paul, “Do you mean that King Tooth there? What is your worry? He’s eating and has no interest in us. Besides, he couldn’t even use the largest of us to pick his teeth with.”

Paul noticed that the Tyrannosaurus Rex had returned to its ghastly task with renewed interest, ignoring them totally. Another of his myths about dinosaurs had been debunked. The Tyrannosaurus Rex was nothing more than a walking garbage scow, not the fierce attacking king of terror that he had expected.

1 Brontosaurs, Brachiosaurs, or similar species.

2 Allosaurs or other similar species

3 Tyrannosaurus Rex

– Chapter 18 –

“You really do love him, don’t you?”

Sally turned and saw Naomi standing behind her. “What did you say, Naomi?”

“Paul, . . . You really do love him, don’t you?”

“Why, of course I do. He’s my brother. Why shouldn’t I love him?” she answered defensively.

“You can’t fool me any more, Sally. I’ve seen how you look at him. If he’s your brother, then I’m Eve. Besides, I’m your friend. Your secret’s safe with me,” Naomi responded.

“Well, you’re quite observant, Naomi,” Sally confessed. “But it is not as you may think. In our country, the parents do not set up marriages. There is no dowry or contract between two families. Each man and woman is free to choose a mate for themselves.”

“I have never heard of such an arrangement! What if the parents disapprove?”

“Sometimes they do and it may cause hardship. But for the most part, the families go along with the marriage even if they are not pleased.”

“But what about you and Paul?” Naomi persisted.

“There is nothing between Paul and me yet. We are masquerading as brother and sister, because we felt your people would not understand our traveling together. You are right about one thing, though. I am beginning to feel fond of Paul and I believe he is doing the same for me, however, I’m not sure.”

“Well, we’ll soon find out about that. When the men return from their hunting, we’ll see just how he feels,” Naomi smugly stated.

“How will we do that?” Sally asked.

“You just leave that to me. We women must stick together. Look there are some of the other women, let’s join them,” Naomi replied and pointed to a small group of women in the square.

“Sally! Sally!” called out a little boy as he ran to jump on her. She identified her attacker as Havilah.

“Why, hello Havilah. How have you been?”

“Fine, Sally. Can you come and play with me?”

“Run along now, Havilah. Don’t bother our Honored Guest,” said a woman Sally recalled as named Carin. She gave a playful little whack on Havilah’s rear end to send him scampering towards the village gate. “And don’t go far into the jungle!” she added.

“Hello, Honored Guest. Havilah couldn’t stop talking about you after Enoch’s party. You made quite an impression on him,” Carin said with a smile.

“He’s such a lovely boy,” Sally replied as she watched him go through the gate, turn left, and disappear from sight.

Naomi introduced her to the other women. They were mending garments, dyeing cloth, and doing a multitude of other tasks. Their conversation quickly turned to their men and children. Sally sat enthralled at their talk. She noted a quiet virtuous tone to their speech. None of the women were nags or gossips in the slightest. How very different they were from the women of her own time.

Suddenly they heard a loud roar followed by a sharp shriek, “Rrrrrooooorrrrrhhhh! Eeeeeeeeck!”

Carin jumped up and dropped her sewing, “Havilah!”

Sally started dashing towards the gate, remembering seeing Havilah turn left. She pored on speed and followed the wall of the village for several yards. She skidded to a stop when she spied a large, tan body lying in the bushes to her right. The beast rose up and growled at her, “Rrrrrooooorrrrrhhhh!” It was a Sabre-Toothed Tiger. Saliva drooled from the two knife-like teeth, one at each corner of its mouth.

It bent down to grasp something. Sally noticed with horror that the cat stood with Havilah in its mouth. She raced towards the cat with anger. “Noooooooooooooo!” she yelled. Remembering her karate training, she leaped in the air and exercised a running thrust kick that struck the cat’s two fangs and slid up past its lips into its nose with a sickening “thwack”.

The animal dropped its quarry and ran off a little distance rubbing its nose with one of its huge paws. It turned and locked eyes with Sally. She could tell that the cat was gathering its strength for a jump. The cat sprang just as several whizzing noises passed her ears.

“Thunk! Thunk!” The cat fell at her feet with two quivering arrows buried deep in its chest. Several men ran up and stooped to inspect the animal. Sally gently picked up Havilah and noticed two large gashes in his chest spurting blood. She pressed hard and pinched them with both hands. She ordered one of the men to carry Havilah while she walked along still pinching the gashes, stopping the flow of blood.

When the man lay Havilah down inside the village, Sally called out for Carin to bring her needle and some string. Carin was hysterical for a moment when she spied the blood on her son, but quickly calmed down with Sally’s influence.

Sally took the needle and rough thread and quickly sewed up the two gashes. She ordered Carin to carry her son home to bed and followed and sat down beside him. “Oh, God,” she prayed, “heal Havilah I pray. He’s so young. Demonstrate your great power to these people. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Methuselah arrived just as she finished. “Tell me what happened, Sally.” She told him the events as she remembered them.

“I have never known a Long Tooth Cat to attack a man. Things are surely changing, as my father once stated to me.” He also lifted up a prayer for a healing for Havilah.

_________________

“Now here is how we’ll move on the herd,” Eber said. The men were in a circle on a small knoll overlooking the herd of Giant Bison calmly eating below. Eber was sketching on the ground with a small stick. “You, Tannel and Zadok will go around the left flank. Paool and Asaph will go around the right flank. I will come through the middle. Wait until you see me strike before you do so. The herd will begin to stampede shortly after that, so watch that you pick large males on the outside of the herd. When you go down, get in front of your dead Bison. The herd will part for only another Bison. If you are left without cover, only Jehovah can save you.”

The men mounted their Triceritops and started towards the side of the herd that Eber had assigned them. They urged their mounts to a slow canter from their walking speed. Soon they were galloping. As they got closer to the herd, they noticed some of the males snorting and shaking their heads, becoming upset at the intrusion.

Paul looked back and saw Eber enter the herd’s middle. He could not see the men on the left flank. Asaph rode slightly behind Paul’s mount. Suddenly, he saw Eber jump from his animal. Paul took his spear and rode over to one of the shaggy beasts. The herd started moving, instinctively aware of the purpose of the intruders. Paul’s mount quickened its pace to match the beasts. This one had been trained well. Paul raised his spear as coached by Eber earlier that day. He spied the place just ahead of the huge hump that he must strike and jumped with the spear point over the beast. His weight coupled with his momentum drove the spear deep into the shaggy animal’s breast. The Bison crumpled instantly dead, feeling no pain. Paul rolled over and over as he hit the ground. He got up groggily and rubbed dust from his eyes. He then became aware of the milling animals. He noticed several running straight towards him. He froze in fear; he couldn’t move. He was going to be run down. He closed his eyes just as a huge, horned, woolly head with wild red eyes bore down upon him.

A rough yank by his neck and he landed hard on the back of Asaph’s mount. “There you go, Paul! It’s a good thing for you that Eber ordered me to watch you.”

Paul opened his eyes and saw the laughing face of Asaph. They trotted back to Paul’s kill. The others quickly convened at Paul’s dead beast. “Way to go Paool! You’re a real hunter now!” Eber exclaimed as he pounded on Paul’s back, nearly breaking his collar bone and shoulder blade.

Zadok, Eber, and Tannel had each made a kill. With Paul’s beast, the tally came to four, more than enough for Paul’s dowry price. Only Asaph, by design had not felled a creature. Paul became aware of the wisdom in Asaph choosing five men to go on the hunt; four men to go after animals, one to guard Paul. That way, if Paul missed his, they would still get the required three.

The men quickly skinned the beasts and stretched out the shaggy robes to dry in the sun. They cut the meat of the beasts into thin strips and laid it also out to dry. Paul was impressed with the razor sharp flint knives that the men used. Only then did he notice the strange spear point carried by Tannel.

– Chapter 19 –

Sally and Naomi were sitting in Naomi’s room talking when Rachel walked in, “Naomi, I’ve just heard from your father that your brother, Paul, and the others have been seen nearing the gate. Don’t you think that you . . .”

The girls almost ran Rachel over in their haste to get out of the room. She was left alone in bewilderment, “Young people! I’ll never understand them if I live to be 900!” She shook her head and walked downstairs to her kitchen.

Sally and Naomi ran out the door and headed towards the gate. They noticed that people had already started gathering there. She saw Paul and the others standing among the crowd, laughing and jesting.

“Paul! Paul!” Sally called out.

“Sally! Wait till you hear, umph!” he started to reply but was cut off in mid sentence as Sally jumped into his arms and kissed him.

“My what a welcome! Do you care as much that the rest of us made it back safely?” Asaph eagerly asked.

“Welcome back Asaph. You too, Eber,” she said in a more composed frame of mind.

Paul and Sally started jabbering together, “You should have seen me . . . Havilah got attacked by a . . . And Tannel has a spear made of . . . I stitched him back together . . .”

Eber called out, “Whoa! One at a time! Sally, you first.”

Sally then told about the Saber-Tooth Tiger’s attack on Havilah. The men were quite concerned and expelled their breath in relief when they learned that Havilah would recover, thanks to Sally’s quick action Naomi asserted.

Paul then described the hunt and his downing of the largest of the Bison. He told of how Asaph saved his life.

Asaph looked down at the ground and shuffled his feet back and forth, “I was just following Eber’s orders. It wasn’t much.”

Sally stood on her tiptoes and kissed Asaph’s cheek, “You don’t know how grateful I am, Asaph. Thank you very much.”

Asaph turned beet red and walked away towards the Stegasaurus. The others followed and began the task of unpacking the load from the travois attached to the Stegasaurus. Sally pointed to the travois and exclaimed, “Paul! Look! Did you show them how to make wheels?”

Paul sheepishly looked at the travois converted into a cart containing wooden wheels and squeaked, “Oh, that! Well, um, well . . . You know, . . . Well, I just showed them how to help out that poor Plate Back. He was struggling so with the load. You know, . . .”

“Paul, you know better!” she said in a chastening tone.

At that Eber walked over and exclaimed, “Paul is smarter than anyone we know. We’ve heard of travois such as these in the clan of Cain, but none of us has ever seen them. Paul showed us how to make them.”

“There! You see? They would have had them sooner or later,” Paul sneered at Sally.

“Ok, you’re vindicated. Let’s get this meat distributed and take those robes where they’re intended,” Sally replied.

“Remind me to tell you about Tannel’s spear head when we are alone,” Paul whispered to Sally.

The villagers all gathered to share in the dried Bison meat. Each family received a large bundle to take home to mix with their vegetables to make a savory stew. Paul and Eber took the robes to the house of Beulah to settle Paul’s debt. Fortunately for Paul, all Beulah’s brothers were absent. Beulah’s father, though, quizzed Paul for along time when confronted with the excuse of Paul’s ignorance of the local customs. Finally, he was satisfied and accepted the robes.

Paul could hardly wait to get back and talk to Sally about Tannel’s spear. He drew her into their room and closed the door. “Sally, you are not going to believe this! The clan of Cain can make iron! I saw it myself. Tannel has a spear head made of iron. I asked him where he got it and he said some of his family traded for it with the clan of Cain in the land of Nod.”

Sally scratched her head and said, “So what? Why are you so excited about iron?”

“Don’t you see? We can fix the time vehicle now and go home! I had thought that iron wasn’t discovered until around 2000 B.C. I had forgotten that the Bible indicates that pre-flood man found out how to make it. Now all I have to do is to take the hinges to the land of Nod and have them make new ones. Praise God! We can go home again!”

“Paul, I’m beginning to like it here. I’m not so sure I want to go back to that fast paced, sinful time of ours.”

“But Sally, we have to go back. At least we have to finish our assignment with Enoch.”

“Where is this land of Nod, anyway?”

“Eber says it is only a couple of weeks journey to the East. He and Asaph will take me there. We’re leaving in a few days.”

They joined the family of Eber for supper later. Methuselah asked about the impending trip, “Paul, Eber tells me that you want to go to Nod. Is this so?”

“Yes it is. I must go and get some of the black molten earth stone. It is necessary in order to fulfill our assignment from Jehovah.”

“Very well, I will give you two Jarsewehs to trade with. However, you must do something else besides trade for black molten earth stone.”

“Anything you say,” Paul replied.

“Jehovah has told me you must bring back the one who works in the black molten earth stone and his mother. Their names are Tubal-Cain and Zillah. Jehovah has said it will not be easy, though.”

“If Jehovah asks, then we must obey,” Eber said.

“Eber, Jehovah has also told me that this journey will bring tears of sadness and tears of joy to your mother and me. He was silent when I asked Him for more information. You do not have to go; Asaph and Zadok can surely take Paul to Nod,” Methuselah added.

“No, father, Paool is my friend — I must go with him.”

“Very well,” sighed Methuselah.

They began planning for the trip in earnest the next morning — Eber got the Jarsewehs picked out for the trip, Paul saw to their supplies, and Asaph talked with the traders to get the directions to take.

While Paul was busy in Rachel’s larder, Naomi came up to him. “Paul, you know I’ve been talking to Sally and we feel that you ought to be looking for a husband for her.”

Paul dropped the bowl he was filling with dried meat, “What! What do you mean look for a husband? Sally can’t have a husband — she’s got to return to our own land soon!”

“Well, that’s not what she says. She’s very interested in one of the men in the village.”

“Who? Tell me his name, why I’ll . . . I’ll just not have it!” he stared off towards the wall. “Besides, I thought that she and I — I mean, I thought that we’d return together and . . . Oh, well. I’ll have to talk to her when I get back from Cain’s land.”

“I don’t know what there is to talk about. I think she’s made up her mind,” Naomi tossed over her shoulder as she skipped away.

Paul thought about the conversation often as he resumed his task of packing for the trip. “It must be Asaph! Who else could it be? No wonder she wants to stay here. I guess I can’t blame her. Any girl would fall for Asaph — he’s a muscled wonder, great hunter, brave, good hearted, handsome. I don’t even come close compared to his attributes. Ok! She can stay and have him! I don’t care!”

With that he put all his efforts into packing. Later that morning, he convinced Eber to start the trip immediately. They would leave shortly after the noon meal.

Without telling any others, the men took their leave of Methuselah and Rachel. Methuselah prayed for a safe journey and gave a special blessing to them. They were out of the gate shortly afterward.

Sally and Naomi entered the lodge in excitement. They had been over at one of Naomi’s other friend’s lodge for lunch. “Where’s the boys, mother?” Naomi asked.

“Why they’ve left for their journey. Didn’t you see them at the gate?” Rachel replied.

“Mother, quit joking! Sally and I have something to tell Paul!”

“I am not joking Naomi, they left after lunch. Paul wanted to get a quick start — he said something about the sooner he finishes his business, the better,” she said as she walked out of their sight.

“Oh no! Sally, I’m sorry! I must have been the cause. I tried to trick him into telling me he loved you. I’m sure he does, but I left him with the impression that you wanted to marry some other man in the village.”

“Naomi, how could you? Well, I guess we’ll have to wait until they return. That will be almost a month from now. You don’t suppose we could go catch up with them do you? . . . No, I guess not.”

– Chapter 20 –

“The Nephilim (Giants) were on the earth in those days — and afterward
— when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children
by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:4
_________________

They traveled Eastward. They had passed through many different villages and varieties of terrains. Paul recalled the clan of Elrond, the only other clan encountered in the trip to the land of Cain. They were a very proper and formal people, not at all easy going and friendly like the clan of Seth. Paul was not very comfortable during their brief stay there. Eber told him of the other ten clans, much farther North or South from the clan of Seth, and the unique characteristics of each.

None noticed when they passed across the border of Nod. As they were resting at a pool of clear bubbling water, they were surrounded by a band of warriors riding on a species of large, tan horse. The warriors were fierce looking, wearing breastplates of tortoise shells and collars of large dinosaur fangs. They held spears pointed down, but in a position to be used easily. Each man seemed to look at Paul with dark interest. Eber talked with them out of earshot of the rest of the party, but frequent glances were cast at Paul from the war party.

Finally, Eber walked over to them. His brow was beaded with sweat drops. “That was the hardest bargain I’ve ever made. They will let us pass in peace if we give them one of our Jarsewehs.”

“What! We’ll do no such thing!” Asaph snorted.

“I’m afraid we will have to,” Eber ordered, “because if we don’t, they will take Paul instead. They kept talking of Paul being a ‘pretty thing’. I’ve never heard such an expression, have you Paul?”

“Unfortunately, I have an idea of what they meant,” Paul shuddered as waves of nausea passed over him. “Thank you Lord,” he prayed silently.

They gave the war party the largest of the Jarseweh beasts and watched as the group galloped off whooping and hollering.

“This is my first encounter of one of the bands of Nod,” Eber said as the party faded out of existence. “I believe that the only reason they let us pass is that I told them we were here to trade for the black molten earth stone. At the mention of Tubal-Cain, they seemed to shudder and quiet down. They told me the next village on the path we are following is the place we seek.”

“This Tubal-Cain must be quite a character. I wonder why Jehovah wants us to bring him back?” Paul asked in wonder.

“I can’t imagine why. Let’s get going, we’ll find out in time,” Eber replied.

They followed the path mentioned by the gang. Soon it turned into a corduroy road, pieced together with strong, hard logs of wood. Paul thought of the carts mentioned by Eber weeks ago. The road must have been built for them. The road quickly led them to a forest of immense age and height. Within the coolness of the colossal giants Paul was again reminded of the giant redwoods of North America and thought, “These must be the fathers of those trees.”

They set up their campsite against one of the behemoth trees. Plenty of dry timber could be found within easy reach. After a meager meal of dried fruit and bison meat they were soon snoring.

“WAKE UP LITTLE ONE!” a deep voice violated Paul’s dreams. He groggily opened his eyes and, through the firelight, saw Eber and Asaph each struggling in the hand of a giant.

The giant was at least 14 feet tall and must have weighed a ton. He made Eber and Asaph look like mere children. The giant had a face like a cherub with light yellow hair and bright, blue eyes that seemed to sparkle in the glow from the fire, looking much like an albino. But this smooth faced albino looked dangerous.

Paul jumped up and started running in the opposite direction. Wham! He found his legs kicking the air uselessly. A huge hand grasped him completely around his chest. He couldn’t believe his ribs were not crushed.

“HA! HA! WHERE ARE YOU GOING, YOU PALTRY EXCUSE FOR A MAN?” the voice almost broke his eardrums, it was so loud.

“Who are you? What are you?” he stammered.

“WE’LL ASK THE QUESTIONS HERE, RUNT. FIRST, WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN NOD?”

“We are here to trade for some molten earth stone. The family of Tubal-Cain is expecting us,” lied Paul. “Besides, we are under the protection of Jehovah Himself.”

“OH, SO JEHOVAH HIMSELF HAS SENT YOU HERE. WELL, BARBAAL, WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT THAT?” Paul’s giant asked another of his race.

“I SAY WE KILL THEM AND TAKE THEIR BEASTS!” the giant holding Eber and Asaph said obviously unimpressed about Jehovah’s protection.

“WELL I SAY WE SELL THEM TO THE CAINITES. WE SHOULD GET QUITE A PRICE FOR THEM AND THEIR BEASTS,” another giant spoke from out of Paul’s sight.

“WELL SPOKEN, THOREL. WE’LL DO JUST THAT,” Paul’s giant agreed. “YOU HEADING FOR THE CITY OF ENOCH, YOU SAY, RUNT?”

Eber spoke out, “Enoch is my grandfather. You must have heard of him. He walks with Jehovah.”

“HA! HA! ENOCH PROBABLY DOES WALK WITH JEHOVAH, HE’S BEEN DEAD FOR FORTY YEARS NOW. YOU DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THESE PARTS, DO YOU?” the one called Thorel laughed.

Paul remembered from his Bible about Cain, “No, Eber, Enoch was the name of one of Cain’s son, too. Cain built a city and named it after him. That is the Enoch the giant is talking about.”

“WELL, WE WILL TAKE YOU TO THE CITY OF ENOCH AND SEE IF THEY WILL BUY YOU FROM US,” the leader stated.

The giants tied them up with leather thongs and hung them over a low hanging branch from a small tree. “THERE YOU GO MY LITTLE ONES, YOU’LL BE SAFE UNTIL MORNING,” the leader said. They were left hanging with their hands high over their heads, and toes just brushing the ground. The giants retired to the campfire and were soon drinking from a large skin and laughing together.

“What in Jehovah’s name are these creatures?” asked Asaph.

Paul said, “I believe they are called Nephilim. Some think that they are half-man and half-angel.”

“I’ve never heard of them either,” chimed in Eber, “where do they come from?”

“I only know that the Serpent, Lucifer, is involved somehow. He is trying to thwart Jehovah’s plan of salvation by destroying the human race,” Paul continued.

“How do you know so much about some things, but are ignorant of the simplest customs?” Asaph questioned.

“Let’s talk of that some other time,” Paul answered, “what are we going to do now?”

“Yes, what are we going to do, now?” Asaph asked.

“We’ll have to stay here in this tree for awhile. I can’t get free of these thongs, can you?” Eber replied.

“No, they’re too tight. Besides, I don’t have my knife. They saw to that and took it from my sheath,” Asaph dejectedly replied.

“Wait a minute!” Paul called out. “They didn’t take mine. One of you use your feet to feel in the little pocket under my loincloth.”

Asaph lifted his feet and started probing at Paul’s side, “You mean this little thing here? Why it can’t possibly be useful for anything.”

Paul remembered that the little penknife he scavenged from his fatigues would scarcely be considered a knife to these men. “It’s a knife from my land. Believe me! It’ll free us, but one of you must use your foot and take it out. Be careful! If you drop it, we’re doomed!”

Asaph gingerly put his foot into Paul’s pocket. He carefully withdrew the penknife, “Now what, Paul?”

“Hold it near my mouth and I’ll open it with my teeth.”

Paul took the penknife in his mouth and repositioned it between the big toe and second toe of Asaph’s foot. “I’m going to open it now, Asaph. Don’t move, but hold the knife firmly.”

Paul opened the knife blade with his teeth and made sure it was firmly positioned between Asaph’s toes. “Now, Asaph, cut my thongs!” he ordered.

Asaph clumsily lifted his leg over Paul’s head and began sawing on the thongs. Without warning, the thongs broke and Paul dropped to the ground; so did the penknife. Paul scooted over to the knife picked it up and finished cutting himself free.

“What are the giants doing?” Paul asked from the ground.

Eber twisted around and after looking back at the campfire replied, “They’re all slumped over like they’re asleep.”

“Good!” exclaimed Paul, “Now we won’t have any trouble killing them.”

“What! We can’t kill them!” Eber exclaimed in disgust.

“Why not? They would have killed us without thinking twice about it,” Paul argued.

“They are still an image bearer of Jehovah,” Asaph said. “We have never and are not ever going to kill any of Jehovah’s image bearers.”

Paul tried a new ploy, “But they will follow us to the city of Enoch and try to capture us again.”

“Then so be it,” declared Asaph with finality.

“Ok, you win. We’ll just have to trust in Jehovah,” Paul conceded. He quickly cut them from the tree.

They scampered onto their mounts and hurried off in the darkness, careful to keep on the corduroy road.

– Chapter 21 –

“Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.” Genesis 4:17b
_________________

The corduroy road went on and on, mile after mile. At daybreak, they discovered that they had passed out of the giant forest. The surrounding land was grown over and in disarray. From time to time they passed rundown lodges sitting way back from the road, but with no signs of life. The inhabitants must have departed for the cities long ago.

The corduroy road turned into a gravel road and led to a stone bridge built over a stream. There was just room for one Jarseweh to fit between the sides of the narrow bridge. Paul suggested that they cross the bridge one at a time; he was worried about the load limit even though the bridge seemed sturdy.

When they had all crossed safely, they followed the road sharply to the right around a stand of trees. A large walled city stood in the distance, glistening white in the sunlight.

The gravel became cobblestones that led right up to the city gate. Eber reigned back suddenly and held out his arm, “Look, there are the giants. How did they get ahead of us?”

Paul and Asaph looked at the gate; there they saw a small guardhouse with a cross-bar guarded by two giants. There were no others on the road nor were any travelers coming from the city. Asaph leaned forward to take a better look, “Those aren’t the giants we left behind. They look like them sure enough, but they aren’t the same ones.”

Paul chimed in, “You’re right, Asaph, they aren’t the same giants. Come on let’s go into the city.” He kicked his beast into motion and headed for the gate.

“HALT! STOP THERE! WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT BUSINESS DO YOU HAVE IN ENOCH?” called out one of the giants.

“We come from the land of Seth to do trade for some black molten earth stone,” answered Eber, assuming his role as leader again.

“THEN YOU’LL BE WANTING THE HOUSE OF ‘LAMECH THE TERRIBLE’. ARE YOU EXPECTED?” the giant asked.

“No, but we have brought a Jarseweh to trade,” replied Eber, pointing to the extra Jarseweh trailing behind the three men.

“IN THAT CASE, ENTER. YOU’LL FIND INSTRUCTIONS TO LAMECH’S LODGE AT THE INN OF THE SERPENT YONDER. WATCH YOUR STEP, THOUGH. IT ISN’T OFTEN WE SEE YOUR CLAN HERE,” the giant added helpfully.

The other giant lifted the cross-bar and the men filed through the gate and into the city. They went only a short distance before spying a stone lodge with a large sign hanging out over the street. The sign was of a coiled red serpent with a wide open mouth revealing two fangs and a forked tongue. There were men standing in front of the lodge, some weaving on wobbly legs. Paul knew only too well what this building was.

Eber rode over to the lodge and dismounted. He was quickly surrounded by several surly looking men. “What brings you to Enoch, stranger?” one of them asked eying the group up and down.

Eber repeated their purpose, “We’ve come to trade for some black molten earth stone.”

“That will be at ‘Lamech the Terrible’s’ lodge. Do you need to be guided there?” the shifty character asked.

“Sure. We are new to this city, although others from our clan have been here before,” Eber spoke confidently and with authority.

“Why not stop for a drink here before you go on?” the man asked.

Paul jumped in, “No! I mean, no we won’t have a drink, sir. Thank you kindly, but please lead us to ‘Lamech the Terrible’s’, if you don’t mind.” He had sensed that Eber was going to accept the offer in his innocence and be introduced to the effect of wine.

Paul turned back to see Asaph talking to two other characters — one a man, the other a woman. He walked over in the middle of the conversation, “. . . you’ve never seen one such as this, now have you, stranger? Why, she’ll give you the time of your life, and take it real easy with you at that.”

Paul took one look at the woman and drew in his breath. She reminded him of the street walkers back in his own time. She wore a revealing, tight fitting shift; her breasts nearly bursting through the fabric. She reached over and started to stroke Asaph’s arm. Paul grabbed Asaph’s other arm and tugged on it, “Come on, Asaph. We’re ready to go.”

“But, Paul. This woman want’s me to go help her fix her bed,” Asaph blubbered.

“I think you have misunderstood her, Asaph. Besides, we must go see ‘Lamech the Terrible’.”

At the mention of Lamech’s name, the two quickly scurried away, looking anxiously over their shoulder. Paul and Asaph joined Eber.

“We’re ready when you are, sir,” Paul announced to their self appointed guide.

“Follow me then. It’s tricky. We’ll have to weave in and out of the alleyways. We couldn’t have you lose your way now, can we?”

The man took them through the narrow streets with haste. Paul had lost all track of the direction back to the inn. They were lead to a large lodge spouting smoke from a chimney in the back. “Here’s ‘Lamech the Terrible’s’ lodge. He is the Heir Apparent for the Clan of Cain you know. He is the first-born of the Clan line of first-borns,” the man bragged.

“My father is also the first-born of our Clan line of first-borns,” stated Eber.

“What clan did you say you were from?” cleverly asked the man.

“He didn’t say. We are from the Clan of Seth,” blurted Asaph.

“Oh, so you are Sethites. So how are the Jehovah worshipers? Do you still sacrifice bloody offerings to the Great Jehovah? Does Jehovah still speak to you in your dreams? Ha! I can give you something that will make your Jarsewehs there speak to you, and you don’t even have to be asleep,” the man mocked.

“Why do you mock? Don’t you fear Jehovah?” Asaph flung back.

“Oh, no! Most of us have given up on such things many years ago. We don’t need any Jehovah telling us what to do. Here, you better get to your business with ‘Lamech the Terrible'; he likes to be at the inn by noon. You don’t have too much time.”

Eber advanced to the door of the lodge and pounded on it. It was opened shortly by the largest man that Paul had seen yet in this world, short of the giants. The man wore a scowl and eyed each of them with obvious disgust.

“What have you brought this time, Hobnodel?” he demanded.

“These are Sethites. They want some of that black stuff your son, I mean . . .”

Lamech backhanded the unfortunate man so quickly that he finished his last word from the street. None of the party had seen anything but a blur of motion. “I’ve told you never to call him that, you Jaarl ass for brains! He’s Zillah’s . . . I’ll never claim him!”

Hobnobel crawled a few feet and then got up and limped away without another word. ‘Lamech the Terrible’ looked at Eber, “Come on in, but hurry — it’s almost noon. What do you need and what will you give?”

Eber and the rest entered the large lodge. Two women were inside and they hurried to Lamech’s side. He slapped the one nearest to him, “Leave us! Can’t you see we are talking trade?” The second woman helped the first out of the room.

“Sit!” he looked at Eber again, expecting his answer.

“We need two of these made. We are prepared to offer one trained Jarseweh for them,” Eber said as he passed the hinges from Paul to ‘Lamech the Terrible’.

At the mention of the Jarseweh, Lamech jerked his head upright, “Did you say a trained Jarseweh for two of these? . . . It’s a deal.”

He turned the hinges over in his hands, “Where did you get these and what are they? Even Tubal-Cain hasn’t made molten earth stone like this.”

Paul cleared his throat and inched forward, “Um, those are called hinges and they come from a place far away from here.”

“Where! Tell me!” ordered Lamech.

Paul turned to Eber, “Come on, Eber, I told you that the Cainites couldn’t make it as well as that other clan.”

“Wait! Come back!” Lamech called.

Paul turned back to Lamech, sweat appearing on his brow. He walked to the man wondered if his bluff would work.

Lamech and Paul stared at each other for a few seconds. “You’ve got some nerve, Sethite . . . I like that in a man,” Lamech finally said.

“Come on, let’s go see Tubal-Cain. He’ll make it for you by Nod, or I’ll skin him neater than a Tubroth can shed its hide.”

Lamech led them to the kitchen where the women were. They quickly scurried to the other side of a large table, keeping plenty of distance between them and the men. “Stay here! I’ll let Tubal-Cain know you’re coming.”

Lamech walked to the other side of the room, and after fumbling around for a few seconds returned with a large key. The women had stood quietly with their heads down; Paul could have cut through the tension with a knife.

“Here we go,” he unlocked the door. “Tubal-Cain get back, you hear?” he yelled as he pushed open the large wooden door. He motioned to the others to follow him.

Paul almost vomited from the sight. There beyond the door stood a man almost as large as Lamech; his unkempt hair hanging past his shoulders, his skin black with sooty grime. A large chain was around his ankle with the other end bound to a rock forge in the corner of the room. The forge belched smoke and sparks, making the small room almost unbearable with the heat. The smell of sweat and rotten food and feces was beyond description.

“Tubal-Cain, you listen to these men and make what they need. If I hear of any trouble, you know what will happen, won’t you? Remember your mother.” Lamech ordered with a veiled threat.

He turned to the party, “I’m due at the Inn now. You tell him what he needs to know. He’s an idiot and can’t talk. When he’s done, come down to the Inn and settle up.” Lamech turned and left the room.

Paul noticed the hatred in Tubal-Cain’s face as he followed his father out the door with his eyes.

Paul went over to the door to make sure Lamech had left. When he was certain of it, he pulled the door shut and hurried over to Tubal-Cain, “Listen up! We come from the tribe of Seth. We have been ordered by Jehovah to bring you with us. Do you understand?”

Tubal-Cain caught his breath at Paul’s statements. He looked with disbelief until he realized that Paul was telling the truth. He fell down at Paul’s feet and began to blubber tearfully.

“Please, rise,” Paul begged. He looked at Eber and Asaph and jerked his head seeking their help. They came to Paul’s aid and, each grabbing an arm, pulled Tubal-Cain to his feet.

“Now listen. Can you remove this chain?” Paul asked. Tubal-Cain nodded.

“Good! Eber tell him how we are going to help him,” Paul asked turning to Eber.

Eber gulped, caught off guard, “First, he’ll have to make your things. Then we’ll go and pay off his father like we agreed. Then we’ll have to come back sometime after everyone is asleep and get him and his mother.”

“Good plan,” said Paul. Turning to Tubal-Cain he inquired, “Do you understand? We’ll come for you and your mother tonight. You make these hinges for us, then remove your chains and be ready for us after everyone is asleep.”

Tubal-Cain nodded his head in a flurry of motion and took the broken hinges from Paul. He turned them over in his hands and running his fingers along the metal, smiled in appreciation for the beauty of the workmanship. Little did he know that he was gazing on the progress made in his craft over the next 5,000 years.

Paul walked over to the forge and watched as Tubal-Cain started heating up some flat iron. Soon he was pounding away with his hammer. It didn’t take long before Tubal-Cain, using the old hinges as a pattern, had made duplicates. He heated up the metal to a cherry red and picking up a sharp pointed hammer, pierced the hinges to make the screw holes. He thrust the metal into a bucket of water and pulled out his creation. Turning them with his tongs, he examined the hinges in the light coming through the hole in the ceiling. Proudly, he handed Paul two new hinges.

Paul whistled softly, “If these weren’t black metal, I’d never be able to tell the old ones from the new. You are a skilled craftsman indeed, Tubal-Cain. Jehovah has truly gifted you.”

Eber looked at the hinges, “Now, Paool, let’s go to the Inn and pay Lamech. Tubal-Cain, you be ready tonight. And pray to Jehovah that we will be able to pull this off.”

After making several wrong turns and asking many directions, they finally arrived at the Inn. Eber and Paul went inside and found it crowded with men and more of the strange women. Lamech was in the seat of honor in the corner. He called to them when they entered, “Sethites, over here. My friends, these are the men I told you about.” Lamech’s cronies turned and laughed at the two men.

Eber walked over to Lamech, “The beast is outside. Do you care to see it?”

“Come on men. Let’s go see the beast I get for some of that black molten earth stone Zillah’s idiot makes,” Lamech said as he got up and strode to the door.

The Jarsewehs were being held by Asaph. Lamech looked them over and started to caress one. The beast snorted and danced away from Lamech’s touch. “Whoa, beast. You listen to your new master or I’ll give you something to dance about,” Lamech yelled. He grabbed the rope holding the beast and gave it to one of his followers, “Here, take this to the stable, Kornel.

“You certainly got the best of me with this deal, Sethites. I don’t think you were honest with me. Is this the way your Jehovah deals with others; by taking advantage of them? He is far too smart for me, that’s for sure. Ha! Ha!” Lamech laughed as he staggered towards the Inn door.

One of his followers slapped him on the back and said loud enough for Paul and the others to hear, “You sure are a trader, Lamech. You’ll get twelve skins of wine for that beast, at least. What did you say that molten earth stone was worth? Oh, yes — one half skin at most. Ha! Ha! Ha!” They all went into the Inn, leaving Paul, Eber, and Asaph standing alone.

“It seems that we’ve been taken,” Paul said.

“No, not really,” Eber replied, “my father was willing to give up two beasts for your molten earth stone. That’s good enough for me.”

“I didn’t like them making fun of Jehovah like that,” Asaph complained. “I say we go back in there and make them apologize.”

“No,” Eber commanded, grabbing his arm, “let’s go plan how we are going to get Tubal-Cain away. That’s our first priority. Jehovah will defend His own Name.”

– Chapter 22 –

A cricket chirped next to Paul’s ear. He gave a start at the sound and looked over at Eber lying motionless in the bushes to his left.

“Don’t you think they’re asleep by now?” he hissed at Asaph close by his right elbow.

“Quiet!” Asaph hissed back, “Eber will give the signal when he’s certain.”

It was well past midnight according to Paul’s best guess. He lay his head back down and soon was fast asleep. He was awakened by a sharp nudge in his side.

“Can’t you keep quiet! Your snoring will wake up the entire village!” Asaph said with a light chuckle.

Paul looked up at the sky; the moon had risen several more degrees from his last sighting. It must be way past one in the morning. His legs were starting to ache.

Before too much longer, Eber raised his hand and snapped his finger like a Click Beetle. This was the signal. They all got up and crouching low, ran up to the side of the lodge. Every sound was magnified in Paul’s ears; he was certain that they sounded like a herd of Rhinoceroses crunching through the forest.

Paul and Asaph were to go in the front door and find Tubal-Cain’s mother Zillah, who they prayed was not sleeping with ‘Lamech the Terrible’ tonight. Eber would stand guard at the door in case someone would come by unexpectedly. They slipped through the lodge door without a squeak. Silently like cat burglars Paul and Asaph headed towards the sleeping room. They paused at the doorway and pushed gently upon the door. It swung inward and creaked slightly. They crawled in.

Paul looked at the two pallets on the floor; each was large enough to sleep five or six comfortably. Lamech was lying with Adah on the one closest to the wall. Paul breathed a silent prayer of thankfulness. They crawled over to the sleeping form of Zillah and Asaph cupped his hands over her mouth while Paul clasped her arms tightly.

“Ummmmppphhhh!” a sound muffled through Asaph’s hands. “Please, we mean you no harm!” Paul whispered in her ear. “We are here to take you and Tubal-Cain away; Jehovah has ordered us to do so.”

She quit struggling and let her arms fall quietly by her side. Asaph kept his hands over her mouth, though.

“Do you understand?” Paul asked.

She nodded ever so slightly and Asaph removed his hands. Paul motioned for her to follow Asaph and they all crawled out of the room. Once on their feet, Paul whispered, “The keys . . . Where are the keys for Tubal-Cain?”

Zillah walked over to the corner and lifted a jar. She pulled out the large iron key for the door in the back of the lodge. They hurried over to the fortress-like door and, as quietly as possible, Paul inserted the key.

“What is going on here?” thundered a deep voice from behind them. There to their great fear stood ‘Lamech the Terrible’. He was still drunk, but even so, more than a match for all three of the men. As he stumbled towards them, Paul finished turning the key.

The door burst open and Tubal-Cain sprang out. His father stopped and looked bug-eyed at his giant son. “By the Serpent, what are you doing loose? Get your ass back in that room, or I’ll get the whip. Move, you idiot!”

Tubal-Cain started growling and inched towards his father. Lamech for a brief instant registered fear in his eyes. Just as quickly, it was gone and he rushed towards his son. Tubal-Cain matched his rush and crashed headlong into him.

No one was certain what happened next, but ‘Lamech the Terrible’ lay on the floor unconscious. Paul could have sworn he saw a feathery arm slap Lamech’s head. No one else saw anything, and of course Tubal- Cain couldn’t tell them what he saw. They did not stop long to consider their providential good fortune.

They all headed towards the door and were stopped by a pleading cry behind them, “Please take me with you?”

Turning, they saw Adah standing in the middle of the kitchen area. Instinctively, they knew that Adah’s life would be in danger if she were to remain. Eber motioned for her to follow and they all left the lodge crossing in the moonlight to the place where the Jarsewehs were calmly waiting. They had to double up on the remaining mounts; Asaph and Adah on one, Tubal-Cain and his mother on one, Paul and Eber on the last.

“Watch for my signal,” ordered Eber. “Before we get to the gate, I’ll have to tie you two women together. We’ll have to try and fool the giant guards that you are slaves.”

They rode as quietly as possible through the narrow alleys weaving their way towards the city gate. Occasionally a pet animal would growl or howl or make some other noise that caused goosebumps to rise on Paul’s arms.

Finally they saw the familiar tavern with the sign of the Serpent hanging out over the alley; they were scant yards from the gate. Eber held up his hand and dismounted. The others followed his lead. As he loosely tied the women together with thongs he said, “If the giants don’t let us through, Tubal-Cain, you grab the women onto your beast and hurry through the gate. Paool, you follow Tubal-Cain. Asaph and I will hold the giants as best as we can and will follow you if we are able.”

“No,” Paul argued, “I’ll not leave you behind! Tubal-Cain and the women can go, but I’ll stay with you.”

“But you have to get back and finish your task. Jehovah has given you an order. He has not given Asaph and me any such orders.”

“Yeah, Paul,” agreed Asaph, “you follow the others. You don’t have to prove your bravery to us. Besides, if something happens to us, someone has to escort Tubal-Cain to our village. Remember, Methuselah ordered us to bring him back.”

“Oh, alright,” Paul reluctantly agreed.

They mounted again and headed for the gate. A different shift of giants sat warming themselves by a fire next to the guardhouse. The shadows cast by the flames made them appear twice as big as they were, which was big enough.

“Hello the gate!” called Eber. “Let us through. We’re getting an early start on our trip home.”

“WELL, IF IT ISN’T THE SETHITES. WE HEARD FROM THE OTHERS THAT YOU WERE HERE. I SEE YOU’VE BOUGHT A FEW WOMEN. DID YOU GET AS GOOD A DEAL FOR THEM AS YOU DID FOR THAT BLACK MOLTEN EARTH STONE YOU TRADED FOR. HA! HA! HA!” crowed one of the giants.

“YEAH, DID YOU ASK YOUR PRECIOUS JEHOVAH HOW MANY JARSEWEHS TO GIVE FOR THEM? OR DID ‘LAMECH THE TERRIBLE’ TAKE PITY ON YOU AND THROW THEM IN ON THE TRADE? IT SEEMS TO ME THAT YOUR JEHOVAH DOESN’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT TRADING. HA! HA! HA!” the other joined in with the ridicule.

Asaph hissed between his teeth, “Are we going to let them get away with insulting Jehovah, Eber?”

Eber ignored Asaph and replied to the giants, “The next time we come we won’t be so naive. The Cainites won this time, but next time we’ll be smarter.”

One of the giants opened the gate to let them through. Tubal-Cain was the first to pass. “WHAT IN NOD!” yelled the giant as he looked at Tubal-Cain. “THIS IS LAMECH’S IDIOT, BY THE SERPENT! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?”

The other giant grunted and ran into the alley to block their path. Asaph crouched low behind his Jarseweh and kicked it into motion. “Jump, Paul! I’ll teach this one to make fun of Jehovah.”

Paul obeyed and jumped from the Jarseweh as Asaph sped toward the giant in the roadway. The giant waved his arms to get Asaph to stop. When he saw his mistake, he tried to run from the path of the stampeding dinosaur, but lost the race. The two sharp horns of the Jarseweh caught the giant in the lower back and pierced him completely through. The Jarseweh came to a stop and shook its head to rid its horns of the dying giant.

Paul looked up and saw two bodies rolling over and over in the dust. One was much smaller than the other; Paul recognized Tubal-Cain locked in combat with the remaining giant. The giant ended up face down in the road with Tubal-Cain on his shoulders. Tubal-Cain grabbed the giant around the neck and growling like an adult cave bear lurched backwards with all his strength. Paul heard a sickening crack and the giant slumped still.

They all gathered by the dead giants. Eber broke the silence, “I never meant for this to happen. We have spilled the blood of Jehovah’s image bearers. We are no better than Cain was. Oh, Jehovah, I am indeed sorry this happened. I pray that you let your wrath fall on me, since I am the leader of this group.”

“You don’t have to pray that, Eber,” Paul disputed, “Jehovah can’t hold you responsible. These giants were trying to keep us from fulfilling Jehovah’s orders. Besides, you heard one of them insult Jehovah. And furthermore, Asaph’s beast killed one and Tubal-Cain killed the other. You didn’t.”

“I’m sorry, Eber, but I couldn’t control myself. Once I saw that giant standing in the road, I just had to run into him. I didn’t think that he would be killed, though,” blubbered Asaph.

“See? It seems that Jehovah took His own vengeance,” suggested Paul.

“Nevertheless, I am responsible. Come, there is no time for arguing. Let’s be on our way.”

Eber led them in the opposite direction from which they had entered the city. He knew that a search party would be out soon enough. Paul was glad that they had mounts sturdier than any horse that could be found in either their time or his. These beasts could run for hours without rest and Eber knew how to get the most out of them.

After skirting to the East for several hours, they turned South and then West. They crossed the border into Elrond’s land just as the Sun’s warm rays struck their backs. They had escaped safely. They dismounted and Tubal-Cain embraced his mother. Adah ran to them with tears in her eyes, “We’re finally free of him, Zillah! We’re finally free! Praise Jehovah! We’re finally free!”

Paul, Eber, and Asaph kept back and observed this celebration with the reverence reserved for a holy event. Paul turned to Eber, “‘Lamech the Terrible’ must be the vilest man in Cain’s clan for Jehovah to want us to steal his wives and son from him.”

“I guess so, since Jehovah has ordained that a man and woman remain together until death,” Eber replied. “Come let’s go. We have a long way to our own land.”

As they mounted, Paul asked, “Do you suppose we could go directly to where you and Asaph first found Sally and me?”

“Well, yes we could, but don’t you want to go to the village first?” he answered.

“No, my business is just about finished. Let’s send Asaph for your grandfather Enoch when we get near your village.”

– Chapter 23 –

It took them an extra week to arrive in their own land because of the addition of Zillah, Adah, and Tubal-Cain to their group. After their long trek, they were finally within an hour of Kenan’s Falls.

Paul reigned in his Jarseweh and motioned for the others to join him, “Eber, why don’t you, me, and Tubal-Cain go on ahead to my “travois” without wheels. Asaph can escort the women to the village and get Enoch and Methuselah to join us.”

“But how will we find you?” objected Asaph.

“Keep to the river for about a day and a half from where you and Eber first found us. We’ll be watching for you.”

Eber suggested, “He’ll be bringing Sally, won’t he? She knows the way.”

Paul shook his head, “No, I don’t think Sally will return with me. Asaph, you’ll see to her, right?”

Asaph’s eyes sparkled as he bobbed his head, “Sure, Paul, I’ll see to her. Thank you. Thank you very much!”

Eber turned to Tubal-Cain, “You can either go with us or go to our village with your mother. What do you wish to do?”

Tubal-Cain grunted and pointed to his own chest and then jabbed Paul’s chest, nearly knocking Paul over with his exuberance.

“Well, Paul, it seems like you’ve made another friend,” Eber said with a wide grin.

“I guess so,” Paul replied.

Paul and Eber mounted one beast and Tubal-Cain another. They turned towards the path leading to the river. Asaph and the women mounted the third beast and headed towards the village.

Later that night at their campsite, Paul pointed to Tubal-Cain gathering wood and asked Eber, “I wonder what Jehovah’s plans are for him. If only he could talk, what stories he could tell.”

“Maybe Jehovah simply wanted to rescue him from that tyrant of a father,” Eber replied.

“I don’t know . . . I’m not so sure,” Paul wondered and then turned in for the night.

_________________

Asaph led the Jarseweh through the gate; the women riding on its back. Some of those at the gate looked with curiosity at the two women and then questioned Asaph with their eyes. Soon word spread of his homecoming. Sally and Naomi ran up to him.

“Asaph! Asaph! Where are the others?” questioned Sally.

“They went on to your travois without wheels,” Asaph answered.

“My travois without wheels? What do you . . . Oh, you mean Paul’s and my vehicle. Why did they do that?”

“I don’t know. They sent me back with the women. I’m to bring Enoch and Methuselah.”

“What about me?” Sally asked, scarcely believing her ears.

“Paul said that I’m to see to you,” he thrust out his chest with pride.

“Well I’ll see to myself, thank you,” Sally huffed and walked away. “I’m going with you and that’s final!” she tossed back over her shoulder.

Asaph started to reply with an indignant look upon his face and Naomi interceded, “Don’t try to change her mind, Asaph. She’s going back to Paul and don’t you try to stop her.”

“But . . . but I . . . but Paul said . . .” he stammered.

“Forget what Paul said. Let’s take these women home and you can get father and grandfather together and plan for your trip tomorrow.”

_________________

“Here, Tubal-Cain, help me remove these branches,” Paul requested.

Tubal-Cain pitched in and soon the time vehicle was uncovered. It was almost as he left it. Some insects had made their homes in the twigs that covered it and left their filth on the sphere, but aside from this, no damage could be seen.

“Paool, what in Jehovah’s creation is this? It looks like a giant egg,” Eber asked with wonder registered on his face.

“This is my travois without wheels,” Paul answered. “You’ll see what I intend to do with it when your father and grandfather arrive. Let’s see if the new hinges Tubal-Cain made work.”

Paul took out the little pen knife and used it to screw the new hinges in place. They fit like they were meant for the time vehicle. “Look, Eber! They fit! Thank you, Tubal-Cain, you are indeed a skilled craftsman. Jehovah has truly blessed you.”

Tubal-Cain beamed with pride making several chortling noises.

Just then a crackling could be heard. Paul jumped up and looked down river, but saw nothing. The crackling sounded again; it was coming from the forest behind the time vehicle.

“That’s funny,” Paul said, “they must have passed us without our seeing them.” “Hey! Asaph! Over here! . . . We’re over here,” he called.

Eber turned towards the forest and listened closely, “Paool, that doesn’t sound like Asaph and the others. It sounds an awful lot like . . .”

His words were cut off by a loud roar. Two other roars answered from Paul’s right. With a final crashing and rustling an ugly monster burst out of the forest. It was an Allosaurus! And Eber was just a few yards from it. Eber ran over to the time vehicle where he had laid his spear and picking it up turned to accost the monster. The beast must have been a juvenile, since it was just several feet taller than Eber.

Some loud crashing startled Paul from his right and two fully grown Allosaurs appeared. He shrank up against the time vehicle, frozen with fear. The young beast’s parents started moving towards him. Tubal-Cain ran towards the two meat eaters with no weapon except his bare fists.

“No, Tubal-Cain! Don’t! They’ll kill you,” Paul called out in desperation.

Tubal-Cain ignored the cry and using his head as a battering ram, ran headlong into the first beast’s stomach. It gave a grunt, but before it could recover, Tubal-Cain swung his huge ham sized fist and caught the animal along side its head. Blood and teeth sprayed from the beast’s mouth. Tubal-Cain struck with an uppercut just ahead of it’s throat that snapped the lizard’s ugly head back. The monster gave a defeated roar and withdrew towards the forest again. Its mate followed and stopping at the edge of the forest, turned to check on its child.

Paul directed his attention to Eber as well and saw him making short parrying thrusts with his spear at the little carnivore. Several of the thrusts had drawn blood making the juvenile wild with terror. Eber made another jab at the beast just as it jumped forward and the spear point sank into its soft belly. The beast gave a loud howl and reached towards Eber with its short arms. Eber was trying to extract his spear, which had caught on one of the Allosaur’s ribs, and did not see the reaching claws.

“Watch out, Eber!” Paul called.

Eber looked up just as he was wrapped by the two grasping arms containing three sharp claws on each of its hands. The Allosaur danced around and around, swinging Eber in what looked like a game — a game of death. With each twirl, the monster edged closer and closer to the edge of the riverbank. Eber struggled to get free of the death wrap, but one of the claws had pierced his shoulder, impaling him to the beast.

Paul watched in horror as the ledge gave way and the monster and Eber tumbled out of sight. “Eber! Eber!” he cried out and ran to the edge of the bank. He was just in time to see the two intertwined bodies rolling over and over into the muddy flow below. Tons of dislodged dirt slid down and covered them. They were gone.

Paul cried out in anguish, “No! Dear God, no! Not Eber. Why not take me instead? Why did you allow me to come here?”

Tubal-Cain quietly crept to Paul’s side. He put his arm around Paul and whimpered. Paul wept openly and unashamedly. The two men sank to the ground by the time vehicle and sobbed; one loudly, one in total silence.

They were wrenched back to reality by the parent Allosaurs who had returned to check on their child. Tubal-Cain picked up Paul and ran into the forest. He found a huge, hollow tree and gently placing Paul inside, stood in the entrance to guard his new friend. The crashing and bellowing from the excited monsters grew fainter and fainter as they moved farther away in their hunt for their youngster.

Paul sat there in the same place, oblivious to everything around them. He was numb, staring ahead as in a trance; he was beyond caring. Tubal-Cain built a fire and kept watch all night while his friend sat in shock.

The next morning, Paul was roused from his sleep by Tubal-Cain. He was handed some fruit and took it without questioning. As he ate, he looked around for his friend Eber. Then he remembered; he dropped his meager breakfast and began sobbing again.

Tubal-Cain again picked Paul up and carried him to the site of the time vehicle. They both waited on the arrival of the party being led by Asaph.

“Hello, Paul. Hello, Eber. We’re here,” a female voice called out. “Where are you?”

Tubal-Cain stood to greet the small group that strode into the campsite. Sally ran over to Paul and wrapped her arms around him, “Oh, Paul! I’m so glad to see you again. You left before I was able to tell you . . . What’s wrong, Paul? You’ve been crying.”

She got up and looked around, “Where’s Eber?”

By now, the rest of the party was entering the campsite. Enoch, Methuselah, and Asaph came leading their Jarsewehs.

Sally called out, “Something’s wrong. I think something’s happened to Eber. He’s not here.”

Enoch and Methuselah ran and dropped down on their knees by Paul, “Tell us, Paul, what happened.”

Paul began talking in a monotone as if in a trance. He described the entire battle against the dinosaurs. There was silence as the others dealt with the shocking news in their own way.

“I knew that Eber shouldn’t have come. Didn’t I tell you that there was danger? Remember at supper that night?” Methuselah spoke, directing his questions at no one in particular.

Enoch softly stated, “Jehovah works His mighty will in strange ways. Jehovah gives and Jehovah takes again. Blessed be the name of Jehovah.”

“How can you bless Jehovah at a time like this?” Paul snapped. “I wish I had never agreed to come on this trip. I wish I had never known Jehovah”

“Paul! You don’t mean that! How can you blame Jehovah for this? And even so, you know there is the promise of the Resurrection for those that trust in Jehovah!” Sally said fearful of his defiant attitude.

“Tell Eber about the Resurrection. He lies buried under tons of mud in that river there. Tell Methuselah about the Resurrection. And Rachel, tell her too,” he spat out in hurt mockery.

“Paul, you must get hold of yourself. I trust Jehovah in this matter. And remember, Eber was my beloved grandson,” Enoch said as he placed his hand on Paul’s shoulder. “Besides, we must be going. Now! Jehovah told me in another dream that I must leave today!”

Paul shook off Enoch’s hand. “Well climb in that machine then. The sooner we leave, the sooner I’ll get you to Jehovah. I have a few choice words for Him myself.”

Methuselah got up from where he had been quietly mourning. Tears were streaming down his face. He walked over to Paul, “I am sad beyond words about losing my son. But greater yet is my sadness to be. Jehovah has also revealed to me in a dream that today is just the beginnings of my sorrows. He has said that I have been both blessed and cursed with long life. I will live a long life beyond all others – that is the blessing. All that I hold dear will precede me into His presence – that is the curse.

“It also saddens me to see how you are acting, Paul. You blame Jehovah for this and so soon forget all His goodness, His loving kindness, His bountiful care. Why is this? Could it be that you are not ready to trust Him with every area of your life, including your death? I know my son loved Jehovah and I also know that I will see him again in that life after death. Why can’t you trust Jehovah in this way?”

Paul listened intently at Methuselah’s words and said after a short silence, “I am confused. I’ve never lost anyone that was so close to me before. I guess that I have been acting selfishly and I do love Jehovah. I only hope He’ll forgive me for acting and speaking the way I did.”

“I’m sure that He will forgive you; simply ask Him. Now get on with what you must do. But first allow me to have a few words with my father,” Methuselah asked.

Sally gave Paul a long hug as Enoch and Methuselah withdrew from them to one of the Jarsewehs. They did not see the quick transfer of a package from Methuselah to Enoch. Enoch placed it down his loincloth in the back and after a hug, a kiss, and another hug, rejoined Paul and Sally.

Sally entered first and Paul helped Enoch inside the time vehicle. Paul turned to the three men left and said, “I am certain of one thing. We all three will meet again in Jehovah’s time. It may not be in this life or on this world, but we shall meet again. Good bye and may Jehovah be with you.”

He entered and tightened the portal from the inside. Without warning the time vehicle disappeared. The three men looked at each other in wonder.

– Chapter 24 –

“Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” Genesis 5:24
_________________

“My friends and family, it is a doubly sad day for our village and for Rachel and me especially,” Methuselah addressed the crowd. “Not only has Jehovah chosen to take our son Eber in an early death, but He has also chosen to take my father Enoch . . .”

At the mention of Enoch, the crowd started lamenting and some called out, “No, not our beloved Enoch . . . Who shall lead us in Jehovah’s ways now that He is dead?”

Methuselah held up his hands for quiet. The noise died down. “No, my friends, Enoch has not died. Behold I tell you a mystery from Jehovah, ‘Enoch walked with Jehovah, and he is no more, because Jehovah has taken him away.’ Thus says Jehovah!”

The crowd started shaking their heads in wonder and discussing this new bit of news in earnest. Methuselah held his hands up once more, “Attention, please! There is one more announcement. Tubal-Cain, come forth.”

Tubal-Cain sheepishly answered the summons. Methuselah walked over to him and placed his hands on Tubal-Cain’s shoulders, “Tubal-Cain, my son Eber gave his life to protect his friend. You also fought against the Many-Teeth without regard for your own life. Because of your valor, you, your mother and the other wife of ‘Lamech the Terrible’ may stay in our village for the rest of your lives.”

The people cheered at this news. Methuselah continued, “You are also to continue your skills working in the molten earth stone and make beautiful works for Jehovah Himself. One final thing, although you are old enough to be my brother, Rachel and I wish to adopt you as our son. What do you say to that?”

Tubal-Cain almost crushed Methuselah with the hug he gave. He started to stutter, “T–T–Ta–Ta—Tank yew Chehobah! Tank yew Chehobah! Thank yew Chehovah! Thank you Jehovah! Thank you Jehovah! Praise Jehovah!”

At this sudden gift of speech to Tubal-Cain, the whole village started praising Jehovah and crying in their happiness and joy.

Methuselah raised his hands for a final word, “Thus says Jehovah, ‘You were called Tubal-Cain. From this day forth you shall be called Joshua, because Jehovah has saved you and salvation belongs to Jehovah alone.’ Now, my friends, allow Rachel and me to retire and mourn alone for our beloved Eber.” Methuselah walked away with his arm around Rachel. This was but the first of many sorrows that lay ahead for the world’s longest lived human.

_________________

The black void could be seen on their screens ahead. Sally turned to Paul, “Do you think Gabriel will be long?”

Before Paul could answer, they were awash in the familiar light and euphoric feeling it brought. “Fear not, for I am with you again, my beloved friends. His Majesty the Lord of Hosts sends His greetings. Enoch, you have been summoned.”

At this statement, Enoch disappeared in a flash of light, leaving behind his loincloth. Sally and Paul rubbed their eyes to rid them of their temporary blindness.

“Where did you take him, Gabriel?” Sally asked.

“He has been summoned for a special task by His Majesty the Lord of Hosts. Please do not ask more, I am forbidden to disclose it to you.”

“Gabriel, did you know about Eber and what would happen to him?” Paul asked, the question had been gnawing on him since Eber’s death.

“Yes, my friend, His Majesty the Lord of Hosts told me all that would happen. Why are you still questioning His Majesty the Lord of Hosts’ plan for Eber. Do you not remember what has been written in your Scriptures? ‘Precious in the sight of His Majesty the Lord of Hosts is the death of His saints.’ And what about His Majesty the Lord of Hosts’ words when he walked on your Earth, ‘Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.’ Eber is, even as we speak, standing in the presence of His Majesty the Lord of Hosts. Why do you try to take away his joy and reward?”

Paul reflected hard as Gabriel was speaking, “Hmmmm . . . I guess I have been selfish about this, haven’t I?”

“Yes, you have, little one,” Gabriel agreed, “but enough of this. You have been given another charge by His Majesty the Lord of Hosts.”

“Oh, no,” Paul started to object, “we are ready to go back to our own time and place.”

“Before you do so, look behind you at what Enoch left,” the Angel ordered.

Sally grabbed the discarded loincloth dislodging a package. “Paul, Enoch left this package, . . . what is it Gabriel?”

“It is the scroll from Adam and the tablet written by the very hand of His Majesty the Lord of Hosts,” Gabriel answered.

“But how did Enoch get them? They were in Methuselah’s . . . Oh, now I see,” Paul said as awareness hit him. “Methuselah must have given them to Enoch just before he boarded the time vehicle.”

“That is correct,” the Angel agreed. “You have been ordered to take them to Noah. He will see to it that they are carried onto the Ark and thus kept safely until His Majesty the Lord of Hosts requires them again.”

“But, why didn’t Methuselah keep them and pass them on to Noah himself?” Paul questioned.

“Mankind will grow very evil in the time between Methuselah and Noah. Lucifer will hunt for these writings and try to keep them from getting to the New World. His Majesty the Lord of Hosts could have kept them from Lucifer another way, but His Majesty the Lord of Hosts has chosen to use you to do it.”

“Tell me, Gabriel, will we be able to use our time vehicle for other trips?” Sally quizzed.

“You are permitted to use your vehicle for any exploration in the past you wish to make. However, His Majesty the Lord of Hosts has kept fifty days from you. None are to visit those fifty days. You are forbidden to visit the Seven days of Creation, the Forty days of judgment during the Flood, and the Three days of His Majesty the Lord of Hosts’ Passion. I repeat, none are to visit these fifty days. In the event any tries to visit these days, I have been commanded to destroy both them and their time vehicle. Do I make myself clear? Do you understand me, little ones?”

“You make yourself perfectly clear. Fifty days, we understand,” Paul echoed.

“In that case, let us get on with our new assignment,” Sally said.

“Ok! What are we to do, Gabriel?” Paul asked.

“You are to go to Noah’s time. I will send you there in the same manner that I sent you to Enoch’s time. After you give the writings to Noah, I will return you to your own time,” Gabriel briefed them.

“That seems simple enough,” Paul stated. “Will we see you again?”

“Yes, my friends, you will see me again. But never again am I permitted to take you to ‘The Mountain Of The Stones Of Fire’. His Majesty the Lord of Hosts has given me this message for you, listen to the words of His Majesty the Lord of Hosts! ‘Well done my good and faithful servants. You have been faithful in a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Your friends await you in the Holy City. Truly, truly I tell you that you shall enter into My rest in that Great Day of Ingathering. Until then, though, occupy until My coming for you. For behold, I come quickly, keep watch and wait therefore.'”

“Thank you, Gabriel, I can hardly wait,” Sally exclaimed breathlessly.

“Me either,” agreed Paul, “I’ve been studying about the Second Coming of Christ and It seems to me that . . .”

“It is time to go, little ones,” interrupted Gabriel.

“You’re right,” agreed Paul, “let’s get going. Sally, I have an important question to ask you once we get back.”

“I think I know what it is, Paul,” Sally laughed, “and I have an answer for you.”

Gabriel positioned the time vehicle over the correct time thread like before. And, also like before, the time vehicle disappeared as Gabriel looked ahead with his strange vision, “Good-bye for now, my friends. I see many other journeys ahead where our paths shall cross.”

Gabriel?” The Voice inquired.

“Yes! . . . YOUR Majesty the Lord of Hosts!”

Gabriel, do you think they will ever understand My ways?

“YOUR Majesty the Lord of Hosts’ ways are as far above them as YOUR heavens are above their Earth. Even I do not understand YOUR Majesty the Lord of Hosts’ ways,” Gabriel confessed to his Liege.

Very well spoken, I am pleased . . . Gabriel, We are alone.”

“We are alone? . . . Oh, ‘Lover Of My Entire Being’, I have longed to be alone with YOU again, for nothing satisfies me like YOUR presence.”

I know, my beloved Gabriel. That is the way I have created you. There will be many changes in that Great Day of Ingathering; not all intended for their race. I will no longer require your race to be the Ministering Spirits for them. Then I will be with each of you and fill you with MY PRESENCE for all eternity. Come. For now sing your song to ME as We travel together and let Us visit a place you have not yet seen. Let Us go to where three golden suns rise over the fifth planet in the star system I made in the galaxy called . . .

– Chapter 25 –

“On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, together
with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. The
animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had
commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in.” Genesis 7:13,16.
_________________

The line of animals stretched from horizon to horizon; more were joining the end from all directions. Every species was represented. The beasts were not impatient, but all held their place in line and their peace with each other. Mortal enemies walked together side by side aware of nothing except the urgent commands implanted in their brains by their Creator, “Go West! . . . Be calm! . . . Obey now!” Even the instinctive urges to mate and to eat became second to these new directives.

Sally and Paul had seen the cloud of dust upon exiting the time vehicle and had walked towards it with great interest.

“Look, Paul!” Sally cried out when close enough to discern, “It’s the animals. We are just in time for the flood. According to Genesis, it won’t come for another week yet.”

“You’re right. God didn’t want us dallying around long. I thought we would arrive years before the flood, not the very week of it.”

He looked up in the sky and could see nothing different from the clear, dark blue sky he had become accustomed to in the past few months.

“Everything looks the same as it did in Enoch’s time. I wonder what God uses to start the flood — a meteorite, or some fault splitting open the entire earth at once?” he mused.

“Whatever it is, we’ll never find out in this life. Remember Gabriel’s warning?” she replied.

“Yes, I do, but I can still wonder, can’t I?”

They continued walking along the line of animals, passing many of them by, since they were queued up like people waiting to enter a stadium. Paul and Sally topped the small rise that had obscured their vision of the line of animals. They stopped, breathless at the sight spread out before their eyes.

Below in a large valley, sat the Ark. The line of animals twisted and turned like a bent arrow right up to the loading ramp of the huge ship and disappeared inside. The ship looked like a large barge-like building, long and wide, three stories high. At the top, a window, like the air vents in the lodges of Enoch’s time, circled the Ark. This ship was the largest man-made edifice of wood the earth had seen to date. In fact, no ship as large, would be made for over 4200 years, when the “Great Eastern” would be built in 1858 A.D.

Above the Ark, birds of all shapes, sizes, and colors flitted and circled; they too invited by their Creator to escape the coming deluge.

As they drew nearer the ship, they noticed several men standing in its shadow. They assumed one would be Noah. The elder of the men strode over to meet them, “Welcome, strangers. Have you come to escape the great judgment of Jehovah?”

“No, sir. We’ve brought a message from Jehovah to Noah,” Sally answered.

“I’m Noah. Jehovah speaks to me in visions, why do I have need to listen to you youths?”

“Surely, Methuselah mentioned that we were coming; didn’t he?” inquired Paul.

“Then, you must be the two strangers that Grandfather Methuselah said would come at the end? He told how you would arrive just before Jehovah closes the door to the Ark. But you are mere youths, I was expecting white-haired elders,” Noah said.

“Yes, we are the very ones he talked of. We knew your grandfather Methuselah before he became the Prophet. Is he still living at Kenan’s Falls?” Paul answered.

“You can’t be telling the truth!”, Noah accused, “Grandfather became the Prophet over 600 years ago. I myself am 600 and was not alive at the time. How can you mere youths claim this?”

“Believe us, Noah. We have come at Jehovah’s bidding to meet you. I repeat, is Methuselah still at Kenan’s Falls?”, Paul said with authority.

“Why, no! He’s been living in my lodge for these past one hundred and twenty years. You see, all his children except my father had died by then and he had no one left. He came here and prophesied that Jehovah’s Spirit would only strive with man for the next one hundred and twenty years. I guess the end is just about here. But I did think that some of the people would listen and escape the coming judgment. Of all my children, just three of my sons are still with me. All the others are in the city there partying and partaking of all manner of evil.”

At his last statement, Noah pointed to a city off in the distance. Paul turned and beheld an immense walled city reminding him more of a Crusader village than one he would expect to find in the late Stone Age.

“What’s the name of that city?” asked Paul.

“Beelzebub’s Haven,” replied Noah. “There are many more cities like it throughout the earth.”

“Beelzebub! That’s a name of a demon!” cried Paul.

“I don’t know what a demon is, but the builder of that city is evil indeed,” said Noah. “He has deceived all except myself, my wife, and my sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives that he is Jehovah’s spokesman.” He spat on the ground in disgust, “Bah! Jehovah’s spokesman indeed!”

“Don’t they know that Methuselah is Jehovah’s Prophet?” asked Sally.

“No one listens to Methuselah’s words anymore. They call him the old man with old ideas. The people all say they are for change and the new ways. Beelzebub tells them that they don’t have to marry one mate. In fact he says they don’t have to marry at all but to consort with any they want. And if they bear fruit of the womb, he says they don’t have to take care of the children or even have the child at all. Many women let him or his trained followers murder their young by taking them from the womb way before birthing time. It is a terrible abomination! Well, they shall soon know the judgment of Jehovah! He has told me of the destruction coming. I have warned them, and they …”

Paul interrupted the man’s preaching, “Noah, there’s much we’d like to talk to you about, but we do not have much time left. May we talk with Methuselah? We must be on our way soon. And before the day is over, Jehovah will lock you and your family safely away in the Ark.”

“Alright, follow me. Grandfather is very weak and cannot even be carried. After father died five years ago, grandfather got progressively worse. He has outlived two generations of his acquaintances; no one is left from his era. I wanted him to come with us in the Ark, but he thinks he will not live to see the end of this day.”

They walked over to a small lodge built several hundred yards from the great ship. They entered the lodge and saw a pallet containing a very old man on it, his eyes were closed, his breathing coming sharply after long pauses.

Noah spoke to a woman waiting on the old man, “Please leave us, beloved friend-wife. I’ll join you at the Ark shortly.” She obeyed, but only after glancing at Paul and Sally with looks of suspicion.

“Grandfather . . . Grandfather,” Noah gently called, “Grandfather . . . there are two strangers here to see you.”

The old man stirred slightly. He opened his eyes and stared at Paul and Sally for a moment. Finally recognition flashed on his face, “Paul, Sally . . . you came . . . almost lost . . . faith . . . been so . . . long . . . Did you . . . remember . . . to bring . . . them?” he labored for breath after each short statement.

“Yes, my old friend, we brought them. We’ll give them to Noah and let him take them in the Ark. They will be safe and will be used to tell the new world about your time and how Jehovah created all things. The new world will remember you because of the message contained in them.”

“I’m glad . . . only wish . . . some had . . . listened . . . No one . . . cares . . . about Jehovah . . . anymore . . . I love . . . Him so . . . What’s that? . . . Yes! . . . I obey, Jehovah!”

He stared at them with glassy eyes as his breathing stopped. The world’s oldest man slipped into eternity to his reward. Paul and Sally stood for a moment wiping tears from their eyes. Shortly, though, they remembered their task. There was no time for mourning now, let the dead bury the dead. They only had minutes left.

Paul interrupted Noah’s mourning for his grandfather, “Noah, please listen. There is no time for tears. We are to give you this scroll and tablet to take with you.”

“Are these the missing writings? They have been gone since my great grandfather Enoch walked with Jehovah and was not, since Jehovah took him. I’ve heard grandfather talk much about these.”

“Yes these are the very writings of Jehovah and Adam. Enoch left them with us to bring to you. You will pass them on to your sons and they in turn to their sons. You will also add words to them as Jehovah instructs you. They will finally be given to one of your descendants who will combine all the writings into the Words of Jehovah.

“Do not worry about the former earth and its ways. Those from the new earth will remember because of you and your three sons,” Paul continued. “Just as your world is being judged, so the new world will receive judgment from Jehovah in its last days. There will be a different type of Ark provided by Jehovah then; one that men must put their faith in or be lost, just as you must now put your faith in Jehovah’s protection or stay and perish.”

“Will this new Ark you speak of be for so few people?” Noah asked.

“No, many more will respond to Jehovah’s new Ark. In fact, all who wish to do so can find safety in the Ark of Jehovah in those last days; all they need is to have faith and take Jehovah at His word. But let us now get you to safety while we still can,” Paul concluded.

They hurried out to the Ark with Noah, where his family were waiting. They gave him the packages containing the scroll written by Adam and the tablet written by the finger of God.

Noah and his family walked up the ramp into the Ark. Paul couldn’t help noticing the sides of the Ark crawling with creeping and jumping insects. These critters scampered into the Ark and buried themselves in the piles of straw. God’s orders went out to even these representatives of the animal kingdom who had obeyed and arrived just in time to escape the coming Flood.

Paul and Sally waved their good-byes to Noah who stood in the open doorway watching until they reached the top of the rise. They paused and turned back to look at the valley below. They noticed that the ramp had fallen out of the doorway. Suddenly it rose up without anyone supporting it and slowly adjusted itself into position in the gaping hole in the side of the ship.

The Ark was sealed. No one could leave, no one could enter; judgment had begun. Off in the distance, as it was throughout the rest of the world, those in the city were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, partying and carrying on.

“Paul, that was a beautiful picture you gave of Jesus being the new Ark,” Sally exclaimed taking his arm in hers.

“He does fulfill that role since He is The Savior. How sad that so many in our time do not want Him though,” he agreed. “Just as these people had a chance to escape, those in our own time could also do the same. God gives man free choice in their eternal destiny.”

“Oh, Paul, how I’m going to miss this time and place. It was so beautiful, and peaceful . . . even with those horrid creatures!”

Paul and Sally entered their time vehicle. It disappeared from the old world, leaving it soon to perish in the waters of judgment. Their destination was the new world — resurrected from the mud.

– Epilogue –

The two newlyweds stood hand in hand before the glass case. Inside, still partially embedded in the rock that had entombed them for so many centuries, lay the two skeletons — one a human male, the other a juvenile Allosaurus. They had last seen life long before Christ walked the earth, long before the Egyptian pyramids were built, even centuries before the great Flood of Noah.

The man unashamedly wiped tears from his eyes and turned to his new wife, “I’m glad that you agreed to take time from our honeymoon to come here. You don’t know what it means to me.”

“Dear, you know that he meant almost as much to me as he did to you. I wouldn’t have missed being here for anything. Besides, we now have come full circle.”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Don’t you remember that we first met because of him, and now we’ve finished our assignment because of his unselfish action?”

“Why, you’re right! If the Iranians had not discovered these fossils, we would never have met. I guess God really knew what He was doing in letting him die in our defense.

“Good-bye, Eber. We’ll meet you again over there,” he said softly, touching his fingers to the glass, ignoring the strange looks from the crowd and excited movement from the guards. The couple turned and entered the flow of people passing by the exhibit and walked out the exit, linked arm in arm.

Iran had opened the discovery of the century to the public and already many people had taken advantage of the grand opening. But it was the scientists who were left with the difficult task of explaining why and how a human’s skeleton could be crushed under that of an Allosaurus. Only the two newlyweds knew the truth, but Paul and Sally kept the answer to themselves.

The End

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