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The fall of lucifer, p.20
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       The Fall of Lucifer, p.20

           Wendy Alec
 
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  Jether rose up, his face burning as the seraph’s, aflame with the ecstasy of Yehovah’s presence. With difficulty, he slowly opened the vault.

  The fires of holiness forked like lightning and struck the cherubim and Jether, and Michael fell to his knees, his head bowed. The lightning coursed through Michael’s limbs, his soul. He felt the presence of Yehovah surge through his being like an immense voltage.

  Jether reached into the vault and brought out a small vial wrapped in a living, muslinlike substance. ‘Yehovah creates a unique seed,’ he whispered. ‘Christos’ pure, undefiled DNA.’ He held the small golden vial high above him in ecstasy.

  Michael stared at it, thunderstruck. Lightning emitted from its surface.

  Jether nodded. ‘Christos shall be born one of the race of men. The ransom shall be paid!’

  Chapter Thirty-five

  Ex Nihilo

  ‘In man, conception is the result of the union of two germ cells: the egg from the mother and the seed from the father.’

  Xacheriel’s brows furrowed. He pointed to the hologram of living, pulsating DNA molecules, the chromosomes and scientific calculations. Gabriel, Michael, and Jether stood around Xacheriel as he spoke.

  ‘In the race of men, these germ cells share equally in the inherited mutations of the sin nature – all from the Fall.’ He swung around, exhilarated. ‘But the Christos-man cannot receive any genetic inheritance through the host. He has to be free of all inherent sin damage.’

  Gabriel’s eyes grew large with understanding. ‘Or He cannot meet the claim.’

  Jether clapped his hands together. ‘Exactly!’

  Michael watched intently as Jether gestured upward. The crystal cupola directly over the small assembly opened, and a vast, brilliant chamber of light began to descend. They watched in awe, as they had done aeons previously when the first prototype of the race of men had been revealed in precisely the same chamber. The glass-covered chamber was now fully descended.

  Xacheriel stared at the vial that stood in the very centre of the chamber, the source of the intense pulsating light. ‘The Christ’s seed, ex nihilo – a body that is fashioned neither of the seed of the man nor of the egg of the woman but by Yehovah Himself.’ He whispered. ‘Not replicated. Created.’

  Gabriel stared in wonder. ‘He is the second Adam!’

  ‘Like all of the race of men, He produces His own blood,’ Xacheriel declared. ‘When the Christ-child reaches maturity, His body will manufacture over thirty trillion red cells in his bone marrow, replenished at the rate of seventy-two million every minute, as measured by the race of men. Yet unlike men, His blood will be untainted by the Fall.’

  ‘Undefiled,’ Gabriel whispered.

  Jether nodded. ‘He meets the claim.’

  He swept his hand across the chamber. A hologram of an adolescent girl appeared. Her copper-coloured skin was as smooth as porcelain, the perfect canvas for her high cheekbones, aquiline nose, and full crimson mouth. Her thick tawny locks flowed past her waist. The brothers watched, entranced, as she walked across her spartan chamber, her slender nut brown limbs gliding easily over the stone floor with a grace far beyond her years. She leaned out of the window, her heart-shaped face resting on her palms, studying a tall young man with noble chiselled features who carved conscientiously at a piece of wood. She laughed spontaneously, her rich brown eyes glittering with merriment.

  Gabriel moved closer. ‘The host?’

  Jether nodded. ‘Her spirit is consecrated to Yehovah. She has not yet known a man. She will carry and give birth to Him. She is young and healthy and strong. Her body will withstand well the rigours of childbirth. We dare take no risks.’

  Jether moved to the far side of the portal, where the huge dome was open and he could see the orbiting Earth as it came into view. ‘Christos prepares to join the race of men,’ he said. ‘As soon as He is prepared, His Spirit will enter the created seed and leave the First Heaven.’

  Gabriel bowed his head.

  ‘He is in His garden,’ he whispered.

  Jether clasped Gabriel’s shoulder.

  ‘I go to Him.’

  Chapter Thirty-six

  The Temptation

  The twenty-four ancient kings knelt in a semicircle underneath the magnificent hanging blossoms of the Gardens of Fragrance. Their crowned heads were bowed, their mouths moving silently in supplications.

  Christos stood before them in the centre of the ancient olive trees at the very edge of the Cliffs of Eden. His arms were raised towards the shafts of crimson light that radiated from the colossal rubied door embedded into the jacinth walls of the tower.

  Christos drew His palm slowly over the horizon and stared in wonder at the image that appeared. A man around thirty years, as measured by the race of men, walked across the stark desert terrain. His long dark hair, lashed by the fierce desert sandstorm, flew across the strong, bronzed shoulders.

  ‘He views the future,’ Jether whispered to Lamaliel beside him. ‘He sees Himself as one of the race of men.’ Jether broke off as he saw a second figure walking towards the earthly Christ. ‘Lucifer!’

  In the image Lucifer stopped twenty yards away from the earthly Christ. His dark hair was flying. He looked imperial, noble. They could be brothers. Now that Christos was one of the race of men, Lucifer stood two feet taller, his six wings spread behind him. In the distance, thousands of the fallen angelic host waited, menacing, covered in shadow.

  Lucifer laughed maniacally. ‘So this is what it’s come down to. The great Yehovah – Christos – sovereign ruler of the universe, ensnared in matter. Yeshua. Jesus of Nazareth . . . ’

  Christos watched from the First Heaven. Silent.

  ‘You have none of Your powers now,’ Lucifer said. ‘You have to pass the tests as one of them. It is the condition of the ransom.’

  Jesus continued to stare at him silently.

  ‘That I would ever see such a day,’ Lucifer spat. ‘Almighty Creator denying Your deity and taking on their inferior form. Lower than the angels!’ His eyes narrowed. ‘It insults me.’

  Lucifer moved closer to Jesus. ‘But maybe you are not truly Him. I require proof!’ He swung around. ‘If You are the Son of God, then prove it – turn these stones into bread.’

  Jesus stood completely still as Lucifer leaned down and touched the stones. He picked one up, and it turned to bread – steaming, freshly baked.

  Jesus bowed His head, His famished body rebelling desperately.

  Lucifer smiled, revelling in Jesus’ torment. He held out the fragrant bread. ‘Satiate Your hunger. Matter requires sustenance to exist.’ He sneered. ‘Unlike the angelic.’ He studied Jesus intently, then tore the bread and bit into it.

  Jesus bowed His head.

  Lamaliel watched with the others in the First Heaven. ‘Lucifer revisits Eden in the future as the tempter,’ he whispered to Jether.

  ‘This is no Eden,’ Jether said grimly. ‘Christos will become one of the race of men. He is to be tempted under all the pressing conditions of the Fall.’

  In the image before Christos they saw Lucifer move his hand across the skyline.

  Immediately he and Jesus stood on the lofty pinnacle spire of the temple of Jerusalem. Lucifer watched Jesus intently, drawing nearer to Him. ‘You suffer to be away from His presence, Christos,’ he whispered. ‘I sense it.’

  A terrible grief crossed Jesus’ face.

  Lucifer knelt on one knee and bowed his head. ‘Behold, O God our defender, and look upon the face of Thy chief princes. For one day in Thy courts . . . ’ a slow, cruel smile spread across his face as he raised his arms to the heavens . . . ‘is better than a thousand elsewhere.’

  As the earthly Jesus watched in silence, Lucifer displayed for Him image after image of Lucifer and the archangels bowing before His throne. An agonized sob rose in Jesus’ throat. He turned to Lucifer, suddenly vulnerable.

  Lucifer was ready. ‘I suffer as You do, Christos. Each and every dawn. I know what it is to b
e desolate – away from Him.’ He reached out his hand, which still bore his ring with the royal crest of the House of Yehovah.

  Jesus stared in recognition at the royal seal. A violent yearning coursed through Him.

  The tempter continued, ‘A carpenter’s son from Nazareth cannot herald in a kingdom until they proclaim You their King. They do not understand Your deity, Christos.’ Lucifer caressed the ring. ‘Descend, heaven-borne, into the midst of the priests, Christos. Jump from this pinnacle.’ An evil smile played across Lucifer’s mouth. ‘Then they will know You are divine. Go on,’ he hissed, ‘jump.’

  In the First Heaven Christos moved His palm across the horizon, and the panorama vanished. He stumbled onto His knees, His face raised to the throne room, tears coursing down His face.

  ‘It is the agony of His soul,’ Jether whispered. ‘He sees Himself separated from Yehovah.’

  Steadily, Christos turned His head, and Jether could see His face. The look of harrowing suffering on the imperial countenance literally took his breath away.

  Christos stood to his feet. Majestic. Resolute. His head held high. He turned to His twenty-four trusted elders and nodded. His voice was so soft it was barely audible.

  ‘I am ready.’

  [[GABRIEL IMAGE]]

  Through all the millennia of all the universes, past and present, that day is engraved forever on my soul.

  The day that He became one of the race of men.

  The silence – oh, the heavy, unrelenting silence – overwhelmed the First Heaven. There was no sound, no movement. All was still.

  And then I heard the sound.

  As I approached the throne room, it became louder.

  I found the cherubim and seraphim prostrate on the ground in obeisance. The four living creatures were in the midst of the throne and around the throne, the lion and the calf and the man and the eagle, their six wings covering their multitude of eyes. All of these were silent. The twenty-four ancient monarchs were fallen down prostrate on the sea of glass that glistened as crystal, their golden crowns cast before the throne – silent.

  And yet there was a sound.

  I stood in front of the seven burning lamps, the seven spirits of Yehovah that burned before the throne day and night.

  I will never forget that sound. No amount of waking and sleeping throughout eternities, throughout the Second and the Third Heavens, will ever erase the imprint of it from my memory. It was neither angel nor man. It was neither cry nor scream. It was neither agony nor ecstasy. But at the same time . . . it was all of these.

  It was the sound of Yehovah weeping.

  Chapter Thirty-seven

  The Nova

  Michael, the missive clutched in his hand, walked to the windows of his palace chambers and flung them open. Beyond the shimmering halo of Yehovah’s bow and over the centre of the golden mountain, an enormous flaming star moved slowly across the lilac horizon of the First Heaven, down towards Earth’s solar systems.

  Jether walked into the chamber and silently watched Michael.

  ‘What is this man to Him that He is mindful of them?’ Michael whispered. ‘That He would send Himself?’

  Jether bowed his head, overcome with emotion. Michael held out the missive to Jether, whose eyes narrowed at the black seal of Perdition in the right-hand corner. Jether took it, studying its contents.

  A great dread crossed Michael’s face. ‘You do not think he suspects?’

  Jether folded the missive up carefully. Grim. ‘Lucifer’s evil genius will bring him close to the truth – closer than we might like. But no, he does not know.’

  ‘We have a head start, then.’

  The doors opened. Gabriel stood there, mature, majestic. He bowed his head in reverence. ‘His advent in the race of men is nigh.’

  Jether gazed out at the star. ‘Lucifer’s magi will alert him. We must make haste.’

  * * *

  Lucifer reclined on the seat of Satan, an ornate platinum throne in the portico of his rubied palace, a white satin robe wrapped around him. He stared out through the enormous portico windows towards the newly erected gates of Hades. A sinister smile spread across his mangled features. He watched the infinite throngs that poured through the monstrous black iron gates, gates that towered hundreds of feet above the glowing red ground.

  At each gate stood a gargantuan troll-like sentry with gleaming yellow eyes. Embedded at the top of each gate was a living black seraph. Across its head was inscribed in ornate script, ‘The Souls of Men’. Each demonic seraph metamorphosed into a dragon breathing luminescent flames, then into Leviathan, and then into a man’s face, which then transformed into the features of a demon.

  Hundreds of thousands of grey-robed men and women, ashen-faced and ghoul-like, thronged through the gates of Hades in a never-ending mass. Clothed in grey mantles, they walked at a steady pace though the gates of Hades. Their features were pallid, their eyes dead and lifeless. Imperial-looking kings and princes of the earth, holding sceptres, walked as if bewitched. Queens followed with jewelled crowns upon their heads, alongside beggars and slaves.

  They walked past the City of the Dead mindlessly, like zombies, as if in some deep stupor. They stared with morbid fascination as they passed the Valley of Catacombs with its thousands of massive sepulchres bearing profane inscriptions. Many of the crypts lay violated and desecrated, their occupants’ shrouds and bones lying discarded among the sarcophagus stones and marsh bines. Derelict orangeries overflowed with bladderwrack and nightshade and the strange, menacing tentacles of bindweed – living, writhing, decaying hothouses.

  A soft but insistent knocking rang on his chamber door. Lucifer’s expression grew dark. ‘Who disturbs my rest?’

  The huge ruby-covered doors opened, and Araquiel stood trembling.

  Lucifer glared darkly as Araquiel handed him a missive. Lucifer snatched it and tore it open impatiently. A thin silver mist rose from the missive. ‘Charsoc and his dark sorceries,’ he snapped. ‘At this late hour?’ Lucifer scanned the letter, his expression grave. Carefully he folded it closed. ‘Bid him enter.’

  Araquiel nodded and walked back through the doors. Lucifer rose from the throne and moved through the portico doors into his chamber. Hands behind his back, he paced the room impatiently.

  Charsoc entered. Silver mists swirled around his head. His black albatross rested on his arm. ‘Your Majesty.’ He bowed deeply, then raised his blind face to Lucifer’s. His eye sockets were two seared, gaping holes.

  Lucifer stood, his back to Charsoc. ‘Your missive speaks of a star.’ He turned. ‘A new and . . . peculiar star.’

  Charsoc swayed slightly, his voice changing to a deep monotone that rang with authority. ‘One greater than yourself has entered the realm of men.’

  Lucifer paled. ‘What sour tidings do you bring?’

  Charsoc flung silver mist into the air. A deafening roar shook the chamber, accompanied by an almost blinding nuclear light. The chamber shuddered as though with an earthquake. Charsoc’s twisted body transformed into a white, wraithlike entity, and his voice took on a strange, serpentlike tone. He continued to sway in his trance. ‘The nova heralds a newborn prince of the East, born to the race of men. One so powerful that He shall crush the serpent under His heel.’

  Charsoc turned, his face literally burning in flames. He swept his hand across the chamber, and immediately a hologram filled the room. Lucifer stared, magnetized, as the Roman armies vanquishing Jerusalem became the Napoleonic wars and morphed into Hitler, screaming at a rally of tens of thousands of Nazi soldiers marching past. Then, as he watched, Chinese soldiers surrounded Jerusalem, bent on its destruction. But to their dismay hundreds of thousands of angelic warriors under Michael suddenly joined in fierce battle against hundreds of thousands of Lucifer’s own dark angels – the legions of hell.

  ‘In that day,’ Charsoc proclaimed, his voice echoing through the chamber, ‘the conqueror with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan . . . ’
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  The hologram materialized into Christos on a white stallion high in the sky above Megiddo, laser beams emanating from His mouth. Then it showed the armies gathered on the battleground, which was now littered with slain bodies and wrecked war machines.

  ‘Leviathan,’ Charsoc continued, ‘that twisted serpent.’

  Lucifer watched, frozen, as he himself appeared in the image. Then Michael and two colossal angelic warriors seized and chained him, while six massive angels cast him screaming into the abyss.

  ‘Thou shalt yet be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.’

  Charsoc shielded his face with his arms. Suddenly the chamber was completely still. The roaring stopped, and Charsoc was flung to the ground.

  Lucifer stood silent, trembling, leaning against the doorway, his crown awry on the raven hair. ‘The judgment . . . ’

  He walked over to the eastern balcony and flung the great doors wide open. The enormous flaming incandescent star was fixed in the night sky between the Second Heaven and earth. He stared at the star for a long time.

  ‘This newborn prince of the East, born to the race of men . . . how is He connected with Christos?’ he hissed.

  Charsoc stared sightless, trembling. ‘I do not know, my lord.’

  A tall, dark-haired angel with fire-ravaged features now stood in the doorway.

  ‘Merodach!’ shouted Lucifer. ‘Summon the Darkened Councils to the crypt. We must conspire!’

  Lucifer waved them away and turned back to the flaming star in the window.

  * * *

  Xacheriel and Jether stood on the edge of the Milky Way, in the portal, staring down at the enormous blazing star.

  ‘The coordinates are sure?’ Jether asked.

 
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