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In the morning Joseph rode with Sipporah and me to Newkirk, arriving mid-morning as the Chief had instructed. After parking the truck, we walked toward the Town Hall in the center of town. As we passed by one of the houses along the street, a door opened and Paul called to us in a loud whisper.
“Anava! All of you! Over here!”
We stopped and turned aside, and Paul motioned to us to come quickly. We stepped inside the house, and Paul closed the door quickly. “They intend to arrest you as soon as you arrive. The court house has already been prepared to bring you to immediate trial, and they mean to sentence you quickly and quietly before you can cause them any trouble.”
“We know that they intend to accuse us with false accusations,” I replied, “for we learned this from the dove last night. So now this revelation is confirmed. What do you suggest?”
“Since they want to hold a secret trial,” Paul said, “I suggest that we make it a very public trial.”
“Perfect,” Joseph said with a laugh. “How shall we do that?”
“Someone could ring the bell in the town square,” I offered.
“Yes, that would gather the people,” Paul said, nodding his head. “But in order for this to work, we must first allow you to be arrested and brought to the court house for trial. If we gather the people too soon, they would simply cancel the plan. They must be caught conducting an illegal, secret trial, for only then can they be exposed. Once the trial has begun, we can bring a crowd of people and ruin their attempt at secrecy.”
“What then?” I asked. “How shall we defend ourselves?”
“Do not be concerned beforehand about what you are to say,” Paul responded. “Just say whatever is given to you at the time. Remember that it is not you speaking, but the new creation man within you who speaks. We do not know exactly the nature of their accusations, so there is no point in preparing ahead of time. We know, however, that the truth is in us, and that the truth will set us free.”
“I will ring the bell and gather the crowd after you are arrested,” Paul added. “The people know me, and they will come. No doubt the news has already spread through town about yesterday’s events in Cosmos, and, if nothing else, they will come out of curiosity.”
“Then it is settled,” Joseph stated. “Let us confront our accusers in faith and without fear.”
“I am with you,” I told him.
“And me,” Sipporah said.
“Perhaps it is best if you stay behind with Paul,” I suggested. “He may need help, and I do not see any need for you to put yourself into danger.”
“I agree,” Joseph said. “You are an outsider, and few would recognize you. You would be able to walk among the crowd freely without drawing suspicion.”
“Okay, I suppose you are right. But I always like a good adventure!” she said reluctantly.
“No doubt you will have your adventure,” I said to her, “but each of us must play a different part in this hurricane. Here, take my staff.”
With that, Joseph and I stepped back out into the street and continued walking toward the center of town. We had not gone far when a car having official markings pulled up beside us, and two men got out. “Come with us. You are under arrest!” one of them said in a commanding voice. “Get into the car!”
“Yes, sir,” I replied respectfully. We got into the car, and the officers slammed the doors shut, locking us in the back seat of the vehicle. Then they drove us the short distance to the court house and parked the car in front of the door. The officers opened the rear doors of the car, and we were dragged out of the car and through the door into the court house. The door was locked behind us, and my heart sank, as I realized that we had no key to the building. How could the townspeople get in to make this secret trial public?
We were then brought into the courtroom. The mayor was waiting on one side, and we were ushered to the other side of the court room, opposite the mayor. We had scarcely sat down when we were instructed to rise as the judge walked into the room. After the preliminary proceedings had concluded, the judge read the charges against us: sedition and defacing public property.
We tried not to laugh.
As the mayor stood up to call witnesses against us, the bell rang three times in the distance. We looked at each other knowingly. Two witnesses were called to relate what Joseph had said about replacing the Town Council on account of their usurpation of power. This was true, of course, although the witnesses expressed great indignation, spinning the story as a revolutionary act by conspirators attempting to overthrow the lawful government of Newkirk.
As for the charge of defacing public property, witnesses from Cosmos rose up to testify that we had altered the natural water from Marah Fountain in Moon Plaza. Because the water itself was claimed as public property, and because we had sweetened the water without a permit, the witnesses again told the story in dramatic fashion, as if we had harmed the entire tourist industry of the town.
It did not seem proper for us to be charged in Newkirk with defacing public property in Cosmos, but the judge produced some papers from the Town Council of Cosmos, giving them the right to try us on their behalf for this “crime.”
When it came time for us to testify on our own behalf, Joseph rose to his feet, testifying first that it was not sedition to restore to the rightful Owner that which the Town Council had unlawfully usurped for their own use. As the chief steward, he had authorization from Chief Hiamovi himself to restore the lawful rights of the Creator. The land and the water had been usurped by the Town Council, as if there were no Creator or as if the Creator had abandoned His property long ago.
As for Marah Fountain, the Town Council of Cosmos had built the structure itself, but it had not created the water flowing up from the ground. Nothing of the Fountain itself had been changed or defaced. Only the water had been healed. "These charges," Joseph insisted, "are based on the assumption that the Town Council owns the water, when in fact it does not. The Creator owns the water, and the Town Council uses it, not as a right, but only as a privilege."
Just then the door opened, and a flood of people streamed into the courtroom, interrupting the court proceedings. The mayor jumped up and screamed, “How did you get in? Who let you in? Everyone, get out immediately! You have no business being here! It’s private! This is an official meeting!”
“It looks like a trial to me,” said one of them. “You know that secret trials are not allowed. The public always has a right to attend trials. And this is a public building. We have every right to be here.”
The judge looked at the mayor, but the mayor looked flustered. Their plan was uncovered, and there was no way to regain secrecy. I looked at Joseph and smiled. Looking over the crowd, I saw Paul and Sipporah in the back of the room, hoping to blend into the crowd. The little courtroom was packed wall to wall with people. It is doubtful if the room had ever been so packed at any past trial.
The judge and the mayor knew that they had been stymied, and so the judge brought down his gavel and said loudly, “This case is now in recess and is postponed to a later date that is yet to be determined!” So the trial came to an abrupt end.
But the people were not so easily dismissed. “Why were you holding an illegal secret trial?” demanded one man. The mayor did not reply, trying to ignore the question.
Then Paul stepped to the front of the room and confronted the mayor face to face. The mayor turned pale as Paul addressed him. “If you want to hold a trial, then arrest me for the murder of Councilman Morgan,” he said. “I confess to that crime. I did it because I was following the orders of the mayor of Cosmos, who got his orders from you, the chairman of the Rhodomon Society. Councilman Morgan was going to expose you and the Society for usurping the governments of Newkirk and Cosmos. He was a fellow Society member, but he repented after discovering that you were operating a brothel on the side. He paid for this with his life.”
The mayor turned red with anger. “How dare you accuse me of this!” he shouted. “If you are guilty, you will be punished, but I had nothing to do with it! You cannot prove anything against me! And what’s this about a brothel? I know nothing about a brothel!”
“I think you do,” said a woman’s voice from the crowd. Maggie stepped forward and calmly stated, “Morgan was my father, and after he was killed, my mother and I moved to Newkirk, fearing for our lives.” She looked around at the crowd. “We thought we would be safe here. But instead, we discovered that we had moved into the very heart of danger. I remember that you came to the little shack where we were living, and at the time we assumed you were going to help us to survive. But you demanded that my mother put me to work in your brothel, and when she was horrified, you threatened her with the same fate as my father.”
She paused before continuing, “I was forced to work there until just a few days ago, when I heard the words of love and comfort at the Town Council meeting. I then received a seed of Elyon in my ear, and my life was forever changed.”
The crowd was transfixed by her calm and confident testimony. What courage she has, I thought, to stand up to the mayor and testify of her own shameful life. Only one that had truly appropriated forgiveness could openly confess such things with such bold confidence. Her time of captivity, both external and internal, had ended. No longer an Andromeda, she was now a woman freed and crowned, the Cassiopeia of prophecy.
The mayor was shaken by her serenity and confidence, but he steadied himself with a deep breath. “You cannot tie any of this to me!” the mayor insisted. “You have no proof.”
“Perhaps not,” came a voice from the back of the room. No one had seen the hooded stranger walk into the room. But now he made his way toward the front. “But I have proof of murder. In fact, I am the proof.” He removed his black hood for all to see his face.
“Father!” cried Maggie, rushing across the room. As she threw her arms around him, her voice quivered with emotion, as she wailed, “You’re alive! You’re alive! How did this happen?” At that moment all the emotion that had been pent up in years of mourning suddenly burst to the surface. The floodgates had been opened by her surprise and joy.
Still holding his beloved daughter, Morgan looked up and addressed the crowd. “Last night I felt a burst of life and energy, and I awoke to find myself at the bottom of the river, where I had been pushed. But the weights fell off my body, and I came to the surface and swam ashore. The water of life has brought me back to testify against the rulers in this generation.”
Then two more strangers stepped forward, a man and a woman. “We too will offer our testimony,” the woman said. “I once travelled a great distance during my life time in order to hear the wisdom of a righteous king. But as for you, the truth is here before your very eyes, and you have rejected it. I testify against you on behalf of all those who never had the opportunity to hear the truth, those who lived and died in ignorance.”
“I, too, will testify against you,” said the man standing with her. “I speak for my generation in the distant past, who repented when a prophet brought the seeds of truth to my city, even though we knew very little. We were all very religious, but we did not know the true character of love and grace inherent in the Creator’s nature. Even so, we had ears to hear the truth, and our city was spared. I testify to you that if this city does not repent, it will face the same fate as the wicked cities of past generations. And if the leaders do not repent, they will be judged.”
Every eye and every ear in the crowded room strained to hear every word of testimony being given by these three resurrected ones. Everyone was in awe and amazement at the most unusual visitation from both distant and recent generations. Something very special was happening, something that many had wished for, a few had expected, but none up to now had witnessed.
The mayor and the judge could endure defeat no longer. Both rushed toward the judge’s chamber and immediately left the building through a rear door. The townspeople in the courtroom gave a great cheer, and we learned later that some had seen them each leaving Newkirk in their cars at high rates of speed.
With the trial interrupted before it could be concluded, the proceedings were invalid, and the people’s eyes were opened, not only to the sinister character of their leaders and the Rhodomon Society, but also to the word of truth which Joseph, Joshua, and I had received from the Mountain.
My eyes searched the crowd for Sipporah, and I saw her making her way slowly toward me, holding the Jubilee staff. When we were reunited, we each held one end of the staff high over our heads and shouted loudly, “We declare a Jubilee over Newkirk! Let all of the townspeople be set free by the truth!”
A great shout went up once again, as the people rejoiced over their newly-discovered liberty.
Then turning to Paul, I asked, “How did you get into the building? I saw them lock the door when they dragged us here.”
Paul smiled. “I have made a new young friend,” he said. Turning, he beckoned his friend to come near, and we all recognized him. “Juan!” I exclaimed. Juan held up a key for all to see.
“I have a key to the building,” he said.
“But how did you get that key?” I asked with a puzzled look. “I doubt that very many people are entrusted with a key to the courthouse.”
“The mayor is my uncle,” he informed us. “He is my mother’s brother. I am—or was—part of his family, so I was able to open the door for the people.”
“Well, well,” Joshua said, “You have certainly played an important role in our release today. You are the hero indeed. Hereafter, you will be known as the Beloved Disciple, the Keeper of the Key to the Treasury.”
Another great shout went up from the crowd.
The three resurrected ones, after talking to many of the townspeople in the courtroom, at last said farewell, as their clothing was changed to a brilliant white, and their forms melted like dew in the warm morning sun. Morgan himself turned to his daughter, hugged her tightly, kissed her on the forehead, and explained that he was now a different person of a higher order, and that he could not remain long. “I now have a higher calling that affects many more people,” he told her. “I cannot stay, but I will visit you from time to time, and one day you will understand more fully, after you are changed into the likeness of the Creator.”
With that, he released Maggie and disappeared in a brilliant flash of light.