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“How does one build a kingdom?” I asked Joshua and Joseph.
“Well, we must look at the present situation and build from there,” Joseph replied. “Few of the people in Newkirk have ventured into Revelation Mountain, because they are afraid of it.”
“But what is there to fear?” I asked. “From my experience, there is everything to gain and nothing to fear.”
This time Joshua spoke up. “There are legends from the past that the mountain smoked and quaked with fire. It is said that those who climbed the mountain heard voices in the wind, and they returned with tales that the mountain is haunted. Others believe that it is the dwelling place of a fearsome god that has forbidden them to tread upon his territory.”
“These old legends,” added Joseph, “have brought fear to the hearts of the people. They view with suspicion anyone who has been to the mountain and who has lived to tell his story. Those who have returned from the mountain tried to share the revelation from the Voice, but most of them were killed.”
“But why?” I asked. “Do they not want to hear what the Voice has to say?”
“They claim to know already,” Joshua explained, “or to know all that is important. In ancient times their forefathers received books written by those who heard the Voice. The problem is that few now understand the old tongue, and much that should have been remembered is now lost. The elders of each generation have interpreted the books in ways that seemed plausible to them, and over time their interpretations were fixed by long usage.”
“Then why would they kill those who came from the mountain with fresh revelation?” I persisted. “Would they not be glad to know how to alter their traditions and come more fully into agreement with the Voice?”
Joseph smiled sadly. “You are not like most men,” he said. “You were unfamiliar with this area and had not heard that you were supposed to be afraid of the mountain.” Pointing to my heart, he said, “When you heard the Voice, you did not presume to know more than He. Your understanding was not already set in the ways of long tradition. Most of the people in Newkirk deeply respect the elders and believe that because they are wise and educated, their traditions are the truth. There is little room for revelation in such an atmosphere, especially when it contradicts long-established tradition from the revered elders of past generations.”
“Then the root of the problem is pride,” I concluded. “It springs from the desire to be faithful to the books, but it rejects the Voice and presumes to know. Lacking the ability to discern, most of the elders cannot distinguish the word in the books from their understanding of the word. They assume, then, that any new understanding violates the word itself. Is that correct?”
“Yes,” Joshua answered. “Whatever truth has reached the level of long-held tradition cannot be questioned or upgraded. Such traditions are like clay pots which can no longer be shaped without breaking them apart. The traditions which they believe to be firm and established are actually as dead as a stone statue which cannot change or grow. Their understanding can no longer develop to greater levels without being perceived as a personal threat to the elders. Their reputation is at stake, and their pride as well.”
“I think now I am beginning to understand the word from the Voice that I heard in the mountain. He said to me, ‘Count the cost.’ He also spoke of evil times in the past when men were not able to hear the revelation being given to them. I remember what He told me: ‘I am looking for those who will take My light to the world.’ Yet He also said, ‘In times past I sent men to deliver messages that only few could hear.’ I did not fully appreciate the danger of this calling.”
“Many have died,” Joseph said somberly. “The good news from the mountain threatens to upset the present world order. As long as few believe the message, there is little danger, but with greater success comes greater danger.”
“You must understand,” Joshua interjected, “that this is more than about truth upsetting tradition. Truth has the power to set men free from those who occupy seats of authority and who rule oppressively by their traditional understanding of the ancient law books. The pride of present rulers refuses to submit to new truth, not only because it contradicts tradition, but because it undermines their authority and reputation.”
“I do not understand such thinking,” I said, shaking my head slowly. “Truth should always be welcome. It seems to me that wise leaders ought to be the first to rejoice when veils are lifted and when darkness is eradicated by the light. In darkness our movements are limited, for no man can run in the dark without stumbling. Light gives us freedom to run like the wind.”
Both Joseph and Joshua laughed with delight. “Yes, Anava,” they agreed, “that is true. But you are not like most men. A tiny seed of humility was implanted in you from the beginning, and when this grew finally into an adult tree, the Voice drew you to the mountain. Something in you resonated at the sound of the Voice. Something in you had the ability to hear and the maturity to accept the calling. Now you are called to produce seed-bearing fruit for the next generation.”
Joshua then leapt to his feet and lifted up his hands over Joseph and me, shouting, “Be fruitful and multiply! Let the curse be lifted! Let the blessing be upon you!”
He sat down just as abruptly as he had stood up. Taken by surprise, I hardly knew what to say. “What curse was upon us?”
Joshua responded, “To curse is to pronounce unholy. Those who have been fruitful have been pronounced unholy by those who have despised the word that is in them. That is why such people have been persecuted and killed in each generation in the past. The records of the elders cursed the people of the Voice by declaring them to be unholy and then treating them as such. Strangely enough, however, the next generation of elders then reversed their own curses and blessed them by declaring them to be holy. They adorned their graves and set up monuments to them, while continuing to kill the Voice-filled people of their own generation.”
Pausing for a moment, he stated with great deliberation, “The Voice has given us His blessing, and just now I was His present mouthpiece bearing witness to that word. A new thing is upon us, for by divine intent this blessing has passed through the veil between heaven and earth. This blessing was prophesied long ages past, and through the centuries all who have heard the Voice did their part in extending this blessing to whoever would listen. Nonetheless, the light has risen but slowly while darkness reigned in the hearts of most men. It is only now, I perceive, that a great commission has been given to us, and the final victory over darkness has been given to the bearers of light.”
There was a long pause as we each contemplated the significance of this new pronouncement.
“We must all work together,” Joshua said with all seriousness, “for each of us has a unique part in a plan that is bigger than ourselves. We are not ourselves. In us reside many others, and their hopes and dreams, and their strengths as well, go with us. What we do, they all do, for we are all one. In fact, it would not surprise me if many others, even now, are being raised up in other parts of the earth for similar missions. What they do, we do, for they are not themselves either. They are us, even as we are them.”
After a pause, he added, “For now, they are not our concern, of course. We must focus upon our mission here and let the Voice lead others as He wills.”
“We each have something to offer,” I responded. “Let us prepare ourselves and gather our gifts for the work ahead. As for me, I must go back to the mountain once again to fully prepare myself for my part in this work.”
“I will call for a Town Hall meeting tomorrow,” Joshua said. “We will gather the people together to present the blueprint for the Kingdom according to our commission.”
“And I too will unearth my hidden treasure,” said Joseph. “It is time to lift the curse, so that the Creator’s rights may be re-established in the earth, and men may learn to steward their inheritances according to His will.”
We stood facing each other for a moment, and when each had given his final blessing to the others, we parted in peace and with great hope that a better world was upon us.