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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
In the morning we thanked our friends for their splendid hospitality and mounted our horses to begin our journey to find Samuel’s parents. Samuel was thrilled to ride in front of me on Pegasus, holding tightly upon his mane and occasionally leaning down to hug his neck. He obviously loved horses and was impressed with Pegasus.
“Have you learned the book of Leviticus yet?” I asked. I knew that every Hebrew boy was required to memorize Leviticus by the age of five and, if possible, the entire Torah by the time he was twelve.
“Yes,” Samuel said. “Do you want to hear me recite it?”
Without waiting for an answer, he immediately began: “Then Yahweh called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them…” 29
Samuel recited quickly the entire passage regarding the sacrificial offerings and how they were to be prepared. “Do you know the meaning of these offerings?” I asked when he finished the passage.
“What do you mean?” Samuel inquired.
“Why does Yahweh require such offerings?” I asked him. “Why are there so many different offerings?”
“Some,” he answered, “are to atone for sin or trespass; another is to make peace with Yahweh,” he said. “Trespass offerings require frankincense in order to heal the soul of its sickness. 30 Peace offerings require salt, 31 because salt represents peace and reconciliation.” 32
“Very good,” I said. “Your father has taught you well. But tell me this: why is the blood of the sacrifice important?”
“That is explained later in the book,” Samuel said. “The soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the soul that makes atonement.” 33
“Do animals have souls, then?” I asked.
“Yes, of course,” Samuel said impatiently. “All animals that have blood have souls, 34 because the soul lives in the blood. The blood carries the soul, and when the blood is sprinkled upon the altar, the soul of the animal is given to atone for our souls. That is how our sin is covered.”
“How often must such sacrifices be made?” I asked.
“Twice a day, every day,” he responded. “There is a morning sacrifice and an evening sacrifice.”
“I see,” I said. “But why must the priest offer these so often? Is not one sacrifice sufficient?”
“It covers sin only for a short time,” Samuel answered.
“What kind of sacrifice would cover sin for all time?” I asked.
“That’s silly,” he laughed. “Everyone knows that no sacrifice can do that!” 35
“What about the story of Abraham and Isaac?” I asked. “Why did God tell Abraham to offer his only son as a sacrifice? 36 Was Isaac’s blood able to atone for sin?”
The boy was silent and thought for a moment. “I do not know,” he said. “We know that God does not want human sacrifice, for He has condemned the nations for doing this. My father says that the people of Canaan sacrifice their first-born sons and that many of these sons were begotten by the priests of Baal during their purification rites.”
“If the priests represent God, as they say, then their sons could also be known as sons of God,” I said. “You too were named son of God, and you are to be offered to God soon.”
“I will not be killed, though,” Samuel said. “Thank God my father is not a Canaanite! I am God’s son and will serve Him in Shiloh.”
“Yes, God is merciful, for He does not require our own blood to pay for sin,” I told him. “He has given us substitutes—animals, who are killed to pay for our sins, their blood for ours, their souls for our souls. But I will tell you a secret that few people know. God does not tell us to do that which is unlawful, nor does He tell us to do what He Himself would not do.”
“I know that,” Samuel said, “but what do you mean?”
“The story of Abraham and Isaac was a prophecy of a time that is yet to come,” I explained. “God will do what He commanded Abraham to do. Do you know the prophecies of a coming Messiah?”
“Yes, of course,” Samuel said. “We all know about this.”
“Well, the Messiah will be called the Son of God,” I said. “He is like Isaac, son of Abraham. God will require His Son, the Messiah, to be the final Sacrifice for sin. His blood will be shed to cover the sin of the whole world, 37 and His sacrifice will be the last that is needed. The blood of animals can only cover sin for a short time, as you have said, but His blood will cover sin once for all.” 38
Samuel pondered my words, and I could feel his spirit praying as he searched for understanding. Finally, he said thoughtfully, “I have never heard such a thing. Because it is new, I must ask God for a double witness.”
“Yes, that is only right,” I said. “God always establishes truth by two or three witnesses. 39 This truth is being given to you before its time, and if God confirms it to you, you must be careful how you share it with others who do not yet have eyes to see or ears to hear.”
“Perhaps I might be of help,” Pegasus said.
“Who said that?” Samuel asked, looking around.
“I said that,” Pegasus said, turning his head to look at Samuel.
“How can you talk?” he said with great surprise. “I never heard of a talking horse—except in my dreams!”
“I am from a far country,” he answered.
“And I as well,” Pleiades said.
“Two talking horses!” Samuel exclaimed. “Have you been listening to us all this time?”
“Yes,” Pegasus said with a short laugh. “We have enjoyed your conversation very much. You are gifted in the word and have great understanding as well.”
“But your call as a son of God,” Pleiades added, “requires you to know more than others. You carry part of the calling of the Messiah, who will be called the Son of God. You have His gift as a prophet. The main difference is that He will be the King of Israel and of the world, while your calling will be only as a judge in Israel. As such, your authority will be limited, but all things will be put under His feet.” 40
“And your time of authority will be limited to your short life time,” Pegasus continued, “but of His Kingdom there will be no end.” 41
“This is a lot for a small boy to understand all at once,” I said. “Though he is small and frail for his age, he is obviously a genius and gifted with spiritual understanding. Yet the revelation of truth has not progressed very far in his day. His father has taught him much already about that which is known, but we are stretching his faith with revelation known only to God and to those from the future.”
“Yes, that is true,” Pegasus agreed. To Samuel he said, “Let me just say that as Yahweh’s horse, I bear witness to what Anava has told you about the blood of the Messiah. Isaac did not have to die, because he carried only a portion of the Messiah’s calling. In his day, it was not yet time for the Messiah to die as the final Sacrifice for sin. Yet God required Abraham to go through the motions in order to reveal the divine plan that would be implemented in the future.”
“I cannot imagine why God would put this in His plan,” Samuel said. “When I think how my own father has grieved for me since I was born, knowing that he would lose me—! Even today he thinks that I am a slave to a Philistine master and may never see me again! I know that he grieves for me, even knowing that I am not dead. How could God give up His Son and allow Him to be killed?”
“He would not allow this if death were the end of the matter,” Pegasus said confidently. “But death is not the end. The Messiah will be raised on the third day, triumphant over death, and then He will be ready to reign until all things are put under His feet.”
“Are you saying that His death and resurrection are requirements to ascend to His throne?” Samuel asked.
“Yes, this is the path He must take. He must prove to the world that He loves them enough to die for them, and then the world will know that He is not a tyrant. When they see that He came to serve them and to secure their happiness, then they will know that His love qualifies Him to be the King and Chief Steward of all that has been created.”
“So what does this have to do with me?” Samuel asked. “Why are you telling me these things? What right do I have to know this?”
“You will be the last of the judges in Israel,” I answered, “for you will anoint two kings in Israel. The kings will make judges obsolete.”
“Two kings?” Samuel asked with a puzzled look.
“Yes, two kings,” I said. “The first will be crowned before Israel ought to have kings. The first king will be given because of Israel’s impatience. His reign will not go well, because he will not have the character of a steward. He will be selfish, not loving. He will be willing to kill others to retain his throne. Only the second king will be willing to die unselfishly, for he will not seek his own will, or his own comfort, or his own position of authority.”
“You will be the transition between judge and king,” I added. “You will also be the first prophet in the new order of kings. 42 You must know the will of God more than anyone else in the land. You must understand His word better than all others. You must discern the hearts of men with greater insight than all others. You will anoint the Messiah-King who will come from Judah, but you will not live to see his reign. Your calling as a judge is to prepare the way for the first king and, as a prophet, to prepare the way for the second—the Messiah-King. Even then, it is not the end of the story, for his kingdom will not be the final form of the Kingdom of God.”
“This is more than you can comprehend right now,” Pleiades added. “Do not concern yourself over this. When such understanding is needed, the Spirit of God will bring all things to your remembrance. 43 You will know all things when you need to know.”
We walked for a while in silence as the sun rose high in the sky. Sippore, who had been scouting the road ahead, then flew back and alighted upon the shoulder of Sipporah.
“Sippore sees seven men resting by the side of the road ahead,” she said presently. “She tells me that they do not look so friendly.”
“Well, let us see what they are doing,” I said. We continued down the road, and after rounding a bend, the men came into our view. They did not move, but watched us carefully as we approached. Finally, as we drew near, they stood to their feet and surrounded us.