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This is the third book in The Anava Chronicles, focusing on the main theme of Divine Provision. We go back in time to Israel during their Philistine captivity to interact with Samson and Samuel, first when the boys are five years old, and then again when they are twenty. We keep the feast of Tabernacles at Shiloh with Rephah's family and Samuel, showing the connection between the seven main speeches of Moses and the first seven miracle-signs in the book of John.
Category - Biblical Novels
The day was spent, and long evening shadows crept toward us. The starlight in my forehead began to shine as we approached the dark cave, and by its light we confidently stepped into the thick darkness. Soon the floor of the cave glowed blue, as clear as the sky. We reverently removed our sandals before proceeding on the sapphire path 108 into the unknown reaches beyond earthly reality. Samuel was awed by his surroundings, knowing that this was no ordinary cave, nor did any ordinary light guide us in the night.
“What is that light?” Samuel asked, as he peered into the darkness of the cave. “It seems to be coming from deep inside the mountain.”
“It is a holy light,” I replied. “I have seen it before. All darkness flees from before its face, and it is the only light that dispels the inner darkness that has overshadowed men since the beginning. This is the light you seek, the lamp of God, the glory that was lost to Israel, but which never leaves the hearts of those who truly seek His face.”
As we rounded the next bend to the right, we could see a pale glow coming from a crack in the wall. As we approached, a deep voice broke the darkness: “Samuel! Anava! My sons! Welcome to My presence!”
We stood on the cool, sapphire pavement with reverent silence. A warm breeze brushed past our faces, kissing us with fragrant love and embracing us all around with His presence.
“My beloved sons,” the voice said, “My faithful friends, I am a rewarder of those who diligently seek Me. 109 I hide My face from those who hate My ways. I reveal My face to those who love Me and who seek greater understanding of My purposes.”
“Samuel, My grace brought you into this world, and I redeemed you from the house of bondage. You are Mine. I have engraved your name on the palms of My hands. I have chosen and prepared you to minister before Me in the midst of a rebellious people who do not know Me or My ways. I have sent Anava to encourage you and to give you understanding that has yet to be revealed in the earth.”
“My presence has departed from Shiloh and Ephraim, because their sin has risen up before My face as a stench in My nostrils. I will no longer dwell in Shiloh, for Ephraim is an unfruitful olive tree. Neither will I return until a greater house is built by one who is yet to come.”
“What will become of us until you return to us?” Samuel asked.
“I will hide My face until one comes who is a man after My own heart. 110 He will build another tabernacle within the tribe of Judah that I have chosen, a holy place without veils that will be open to all who worship Me. They will not see My glory in that tabernacle, but I will see My glory in the hearts of all who seek Me. Then another king will arise who will build a house for Me, and I will glorify that house.”
“How long will that be?” Samuel asked again.
“Israel has been in rebellion against Me since the birth of Eli,” the Voice rumbled. “As are the years of Eli’s life, so also will Israel know that I have departed from them.” 111
“So what is Your will and purpose for me? How shall I comfort the people during Your absence?” Samuel asked inquisitively.
“You will be My oracle to the people,” the Voice replied. “The voice that men hear will be My voice in you, for you have been faithful to let none of My words fall to the ground. You will be My priest during a time that usurpers remain in Shiloh. You will carry My presence, so that My people, who dwell in darkness and in captivity, will not be left without My light.”
“Though My presence has departed from Shiloh, I will again be seen in you. The people will know that I have revealed Myself to you by the word which I have spoken to you. Their understanding will be dim, for they will not know that My presence has left the tabernacle, and you shall not tell them this, lest you bring dishonor to your father, Eli. Yet My presence in you will comfort and encourage the hearts of the people in a time of apostasy.”
“When the appointed time comes to bring judgment upon Shiloh, I will stir up the Philistines, who are My chosen vessels to execute My judgment upon Shiloh, so that I may do a new thing in the earth. Those who do not know My plan will see this as a disaster, but you will encourage them, for you will understand.”
“In the days when there is no tabernacle, when men will be unable to keep My feasts as before, you will teach them a new way. You will tell them that the place where I have chosen to place My name is not in tents, but in the foreheads of those who worship Me in spirit and in truth. My desire is to indwell them, for each will be a holy sanctuary for My glory.”
“You will teach them how to observe the Passover in their hearts by faith. You will teach them how to observe the feast of Weeks by following and obeying My Spirit. You will teach them how to observe the feast of Sukkoth by coming into agreement with My law, My nature, and My ways. When they learn to rest in Me, then I too shall find a resting place in them.”
“When will these things come to pass?” Samuel asked. “How will I know when the appointed time has come?”
“You will know the time is near when you see the Ark, for I will cause it to be seen by many in Israel and also by the Philistines. I will cause the Ark to go into battle with Israel, and when Israel prays that My enemies be scattered, I will answer in an unexpected way. In that day, you will not go with Israel, nor will you behold their judgment.”
“At that time I will raise you up as My unrecognized High Priest who alone will minister to Me here in My presence. The recognized High Priest in that day will see the Ark and will carry the ephod, but he will not know where My presence has gone. He will minister in a limited manner to the people. Israel will be given the opportunity, as in the days of Moses and Joshua, to worship Me in spirit and in truth. If they are yet carnal and prefer to know Me externally, then I will build a temple for Myself and indwell that place until a later time, when a generation arises that is able to contain My presence.”
“Know this,” the Voice proclaimed. “I will indwell a temple made of living stones, 112 even if it takes thousands of years to accomplish. This is My final resting place. A thousand years to Me is as a day, and a day is as a thousand years. 113 Though men fail to keep their vows, yet will I keep My own vows to them. I will establish My Kingdom, and all the earth will be filled with My glory, in order that I may establish all men as My people, and that I may be their God, as I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.”
The walls of the cave shook with His voice, as if by a great earthquake. Samuel fell to his face, astonished and without strength, slain, as it were, by the power of Majesty and strength. I stood still for a reverent moment and looked to the light for guidance. “Help him to stand on his feet,” the Voice told me. “Lay hands on him with the spirit of courage and might, that he may have the strength in the days ahead.”
I stooped down and touched Samuel on the shoulder, saying, “Rise, my brother and friend. Be strong and of good courage. Be diligent to do according to all that the Voice has commanded and revealed to you. Do not turn to the right or to the left so that you may have success wherever you go and in all that you do. This word will not depart from your mouth, but you will meditate on it day and night; for then you will prosper and have full success.” 114
Samuel raised himself to his knees, and after a pause, I lifted him by the arm to his feet. The light faded slowly, as if the presence of the Creator had retreated deeper into the heart of the earth.
“Come,” I said, “it is time for us to go. You have received a great deposit of love this day. Once you have heard His voice, you are never alone. Let this word sustain you, and may you know that once you have been in His presence, you can never leave the Most Holy Place, for you carry it with you with every step thereafter.”
We turned to leave as the cave darkened. But our faces glowed with the divine presence, lighting up the passage and causing the sapphire pavement to glow with its rich, blue color. “Let us go back into the outer court,” I said, “and bring His presence with us. Our fellowship with Him can never be broken, for we have been devoted to Him, and no man can pluck us out of His hand.” 115
The sky was dark when we arrived at the mouth of the cave. But there we saw an open fire, chairs, and a table that was spread with all kinds of fruit, vegetables, bread, and meat. “Welcome to our wedding feast!” came a familiar voice.
“Paul! Maggie! What are you doing here?” I exclaimed.
“Anava!” Paul replied. “I should ask what are you doing here at Revelation Mountain? And who is your friend with the glowing face?”
“God led us here,” I said. “Pegasus and Pleiades brought us here. Paul, this is Samuel. Samuel, this is Paul and Maggie.”
“Shalom,” said Samuel. “Are these friends of yours?”
“Yes, they are friends with authority in my country,” I said. “But how did you get here? What is your mission?”
“We are not sure,” Maggie said. “We were married today, and we went to Revelation Mountain for our honeymoon. Joseph told us to take double provisions for a wedding feast. We took so much that it took three of Joshua’s donkeys to carry it all. When we arrived, we set up our tent and table, lit a fire, and prepared the feast.”
“Then a strange thing happened,” Paul said, “for we felt like we were pulled through a thin veil, and this cave suddenly opened up beside us. We saw Pegasus and Pleiades over there, so we figured that you must be nearby. Then the two of you walked out of the cave, and here we are. Perhaps you can explain the meaning of this!”
“Perhaps I can explain,” said a deep voice from the darkness. Pegasus then stepped into the light, with Pleiades beside him.
“What is this? A talking horse?” Maggie said with surprise. “Are these not Joseph’s horses? What other secrets are you hiding?”
“The horses speak when they wish,” I said, “but only a few hear them speaking our language. They are our friends and our guides in Israel—for you are now in Israel. This is no longer Revelation Mountain, but Mount Hermon. The horses brought us to this cave in order to meet with the Creator face to face. It was Samuel’s innermost desire to see the glory of God, and his prayer was answered today.”
“The two of you were brought here,” Pegasus said, “to fellowship with the Creator of heaven and earth and to bear witness on earth to His will in heaven. On this occasion, He is making a covenant with you. It is a covenant of fellowship to celebrate the union between heaven and earth, between God and man, between man and woman…”
“And between stallion and mare,” Pleiades added.
“Yes,” Pegasus said solemnly. “His covenant covers all of His creatures one way or another. This is a time of great revelation—for Samuel in particular, whose deepest prayer has been answered. In him, God has revived an ancient order of priests, the Melchizedek Order, which, though men are not yet ready to recognize it, is the only Order that can truly fulfill the priestly calling as it was intended to be. This banquet is a feast to celebrate the birth of this New Covenant priest.”
“Is this, then, the Samuel?” Paul asked. “Is this the prophet in Israel?”
“Yes, it is,” I replied, and Samuel seemed somewhat embarrassed.
“How do you know me?” he asked Paul.
“You are well known in our country,” Paul said, “at least to those who have taken the time to read of your exploits in the Book of Destiny. It seems that God has given to us a memorable honeymoon, for we have been plucked up by the hand of God and transported here. I see now that God intended for us to prepare a banquet for you and to give us an opportunity to serve you.”
“We are deeply thankful,” I said, “for we were so enthralled with our meeting with God that we did not even think about eating. The food smells delicious! If it is ready, let’s eat.”
“Yes, it is ready,” Maggie said. “All the food is prepared, and we even have pure living water from Joseph’s flask, which he insisted that we take with us. Yet if we had known that we would be meeting you here with our illustrious guest, the prophet Samuel, we would have brought some wine as well.”
“Do not fret about that. There is no better water than what comes from Revelation Mountain. Let us thank our heavenly Father for His bountiful provision as we accept His invitation to the feast.”
I raised my hands and prayed: “Our Father, thank-you for all of your provision that makes it possible to do whatever you have called us to accomplish. Bless this food, and join with us in fellowship as we eat and drink with You to establish this covenant of fellowship. We look forward to the day when the whole earth will eat and drink with You in the Kingdom that is to come.”
With that, we were seated, and we filled our plates with the bounty that had been provided. But when the water from Joseph’s flask was poured, a marvelous transformation occurred. We found that as soon as it hit the bottom of our cups, it turned into a deep red wine. 116
So we ate and drank with the God of Heaven, with His presence shining from our faces, illuminating the entire area as bright as the day. We drank of His wine and offered toasts to His wonderful provision in all things. With each sip of new wine, we could feel changes within our very beings, as if the transformation of water to wine continued its power to change our own bodies as well.
“This water-turned wine,” Paul commented, “seems to be putting within me a well springing up as a fountain of youth. I feel a change in my veins, like a mysterious energy. This is true miracle wine, and I suspect that the world needs this very much!”
His presence rested upon all who feasted, and we all saw Him in each other and understood how He filled all things. His union with creation was an everlasting marriage, united only by the strong bond of love, revealed by faith, and sealed by bread and wine from His banquet table.