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“What is freedom?” I asked.
“That is a good question,” Chief Hiamovi replied. “If we do not fully know the answer to that question, it will be impossible to sustain freedom in our newly-established order in Cosmos and Newkirk.”
We had gathered together for a summit at the Chief’s house to plan strategy for setting up a proper environment for the Creator’s rule. Now that Joshua was the mayor of Newkirk, and Joseph being the mayor of Cosmos, many important changes had to be made, both in government and society itself. We all knew that it would take some time to make the necessary changes.
We looked at each other thoughtfully across the long oak table. “The people have been taught that freedom is the ability to do what one wishes without restriction, as long as it does not appear to hurt someone else or violate his or her free will,” Joshua said presently. “The problem is that most people are not far-sighted enough to see the result of their actions which they believe to be harmless. Neither do they understand that human behavior itself, along with their own passions, can easily enslave them.”
“They think of freedom in terms of human nature,” the Chief noted. “Because they have been taught that human nature evolved in a progressive manner, they reject the truth that men have regressed since Earthyman’s first disobedience. They see the progression of science and technology as evidence that human nature is improving. So in the name of freedom of conscience, they have more confidence in their flesh than is warranted. Such freedom, as they call it, has a measure of life, but it always degenerates into slavery over time. The true evidence of right conscience is if it agrees with the Creator’s character as seen in His moral laws and the very laws of nature itself.”
“We have now begun to teach them about the new creation man,” Joshua stated. “This should provide the antidote to their confidence in human nature. Once this teaching is fully ingrained in the culture, they will know the difference between the spiritual man and the man of flesh. At the present time, most think that human nature is all they have, so freedom is defined in terms of pleasing this flawed entity.”
“The key,” I said slowly, “is to distinguish between the two “I’s,” so they may see that human nature is a slave master and their worst enemy. Even one’s conscience is man-made and is only as good as its training at the hands of flawed parents and teachers. Conscience is the child of the flesh that is trying to be good. But truth is what sets men free, and because truth is spiritual, it can be comprehended only by revelation through the new creation man.”
Sipporah, who had been listening quietly, with Sippore the dove whispering occasionally in her ear, then broke her silence for the first time. “Up to now most men have been taught that true freedom is found by going back to nature. Nature is a jungle,” she said. “To bring society back to nature would bring us back to the time before Earthyman was created. It is hardly possible to revert back to such a time when the strongest ruled by power and fear, and when only the fittest survived.”
“Yes,” I replied. “That would be the end of civilization itself. We cannot turn back time and start over. I do not believe that time has been wasted on mankind. Civilization is certainly flawed deeply, but the Creator has devised a plan of redemption. If we understand that plan, then we may implement it and teach it to others.”
“Earthyman,” the Chief added, “was created at the beginning to bring order out of chaos and to rule nature as an extension of the Creator’s heart of love. Though he failed, that calling is still with us to this day. The question is how to get there from here.”
“Then it has always been His purpose for man to create structure on patterns of love and justice,” Joshua added. “That is what we must do in the present time. We cannot go back to the beginning and start over, but we can regain the vision and calling of man’s original purpose. If we understand that calling, and if we possess the same love as is found in the Creator Himself, then we will make progress until all things conform to His image.”
“It seems to me,” I said, “that the foundational truth is to recognize the Creator’s right to determine the future of this earth and all society. Whatever we build by our own labor is subordinate to His right as the Owner of all things. Most men’s idea of freedom is based on the assumption that they own themselves. But we know that such a belief is not true, because we did not create ourselves. However, the former government directed the schools to teach the children that we simply evolved by some impersonal, natural process.”
“Yes,” Sipporah interjected, “by eliminating the idea of a Creator, and by ridiculing anyone who spoke of a Creator, they promised men freedom, but in practice they usurped power over men and slowly enslaved them. They could do this because they convinced the people that there was no higher power whose laws were immutable. When they eliminated the Creator, they stepped into the power vacuum and anointed themselves as gods.”
“That brings up another important question,” the Chief said. “The people need to know that truth sets men free, and also that truth is the only way to maintain freedom. The darkened minds of men think that the power of flesh is the source of freedom. They think that one must be physically strong in order to gain and retain freedom. That is an illusion, as we all know.”
“That is very true,” I responded. “The problem is that many believe nominally that the truth will set us free, but when the question comes up in practical applications, they believe that carnal weapons and physical strength are the keys to freedom. This is a contradiction, to be sure, but somehow we need to teach the people how to practice what they claim to believe.”
“I have an idea,” Joshua said. “Perhaps it is from the Creator.”
“Let’s hear it,” the Chief said with anticipation.
“We are all expressions of the new creation man,” Joshua began. “Great things have happened recently that have changed us in more ways than one. We have seen an increase in knowledge as well. However, these changes have not suddenly given us full knowledge. There is still much to learn. I think that our ability to learn has been increased greatly, but it seems that we will never cease to learn.”
He paused, and then continued. “I recall reading one of the prophets, who said that we have been raised up to this higher dimension of experience so that in the ages to come the Creator could show us the abundant richness of truth. If that is so, then the purpose of our recent experience at Revelation Mountain is to make us capable of learning, experiencing, and retaining more truth in the time ahead. But capability does not mean that we suddenly now know all things.”
“That is a great insight,” said the Chief. “Learning adds spice to the pleasures of life. The joy of discovery makes immortal life worth living. If knowledge of all things came with immortality, how soon we would become bored. We would have too much time on our hands and too little to do to make that time worthwhile. The Creator Himself may not have such a need for discovery, but this is how we differ from Him. Even so, the Creator must expand His experience, and for this reason, He creates new things. Creating things does not cause Him to be joyful; it is out of His joy that He creates new things.”
“So, Joshua my friend, how do you propose that we learn these new things?” I asked.
“They should be learned by experience,” he replied. “Experience is the best teacher, and even if we already know some truths by hearing it from others or by reading another person’s words, is it not better to learn through life experience than by reading about it?”
“No doubt,” I said. “In fact, if our intention is to show the people of Newkirk and Cosmos how to translate head beliefs to heart beliefs, we ought to follow our own rules. We cannot expect others to do what we ourselves would not do.”
“I perceive that these insights are being given to us for a reason,” the Chief said. “Let us take a moment to meditate on this.”
The Chief leaned back, closed his eyes, and took a deep cleansing breath. The Council then spent a few minutes in quiet meditation to receive specific instructions from the Creator on how to proceed. Finally, the Chief broke the silence. Looking at me, he said, “I am to give this to you.” With that, he took the gold ring off his finger and gave it to me across the table.
This was the first time I had a chance to get a close look at his ring. It was old and simple in its shape. The flat head was inscribed with a stylized head of a bull with two long horns.
“What is this symbol?” I asked.
“It is the ancient emblem of our tribe,” he explained.
“But there were no cattle on this continent until Europeans brought them here just a few hundred years ago. Is your tribe so young, or did the tribe originate in another place?”
“Our tribe is very old,” the Chief said. “When the Europeans brought cattle to this land, we began to learn more about our origins.”
“Forgive me for asking,” I said, “but I have never asked the name of your tribe.”
“We are called Zaphnath-paaneah. It means abundance of life, but it also implies an inner life with some level of secrecy as in hidden treasure. We are named for our first Chief who brought us to this bountiful but hidden land when it was teeming with life. Most people today just call us the Zaphnath tribe.”
“I have never heard of your tribe,” I said with curiosity.
“We are usually categorized as a small band of a larger tribe,” the Chief said, “so in a way we have lost our name and original identity. But no matter. This signet ring will tell those who recognize it that you are one of us and that you represent me.”
“As for me,” Joseph added, “I am to loan you my two prized white horses, Pegasus and Pleiades, for whatever purpose. They are very special horses, as you will see, once you get to know them. Here, too, is my flask of living water to bless all who thirst.”
“And I give you my star,” Joshua said. “Let it be a light in dark places to guide you always by the power of His name.”
“You are all very generous,” I said, bowing slightly to each in turn, to the Chief, to Joseph, and to Joshua. Thank-you very much. I am sure that these will be needful and useful in the days ahead. I feel well equipped for whatever lies before us. However, we are not used to riding horses. I hope they are tame and cooperative.”
“Don’t worry,” Joseph said with a grin. “You will be surprised at their level of cooperation and how easy they are to ride.”
“Okay, if you say so,” I said. “I will take your word for it.”
“I am told by my faithful guide,” Sipporah added, “that we have a journey to make into the nearby mountains. The terrain will not allow motor vehicles once we get there. It appears that we are to go on a camping trip—”
“—to learn something,” I said, finishing my wife’s sentence. “It appears that the Creator has given us an assignment to learn more about strength and freedom. Perhaps the mountains will teach us something. What is the name of this mountain range beyond the village?”
“We call them the Timeless Mountains,” Joseph informed us.
“Ah, yes, the Timeless Mountains!” I exclaimed. “I remember stories that my father told me about these mountains.”
“There are very old legends about these sacred mountains,” Joseph continued. “Perhaps you will learn some forgotten secrets. Your father and mine had some interesting experiences in those mountains. I don’t know what he told you about his adventures, but my father told me many stories.”
“I remember one story,” I responded, “about an old abandoned mine that they found, and a lost or hidden Indian tribe living nearby.”
“Our village here is a branch of that hidden tribe,” the Chief said. “We say nothing of it, because it is best that they remain undisturbed. You might say that our village here is the visible branch of an invisible tribe. If you meet any of them, they will treat you well when they see my ring on your finger.”
“Then it is settled,” I said. “We will go and see what sort of mission the Creator has planned for us, and when we return, we will give you our report.”
“Excellent!” Joseph said, getting up from his chair. “I will get the horses ready and prepare supplies for your camping trip. I also have a map that I can give you. You should rest the night and meet me here in the morning.”
The meeting ended, and each one went home to attend to his duties. Sipporah and I drove back to the lodge where we had been staying. A good night’s sleep would refresh us for the trip ahead.
That night Sipporah had a vivid dream. She saw a vast cavalry of soldiers riding into battle in full armor. Their swords glistened in the sunlight, and they appeared to be part of a powerful army. But as strong as they were, they could not defeat their foes, for it seemed as if the earth turned into mire, which slowed the horses to a walk and gave them no advantage whatsoever. But then one of them blew a trumpet and little idols made of gold and silver fell out of their saddle bags and were trampled on the ground under the horses’ feet. Suddenly, a great white horse appeared in the clouds of heaven, and led them into battle. All of the earthly horses then changed their appearance and took on the image of the great white horse. The battle was won, all opposition was overcome, and then the dream ended.
As the day dawned, we got up and prepared for our new adventure.