“So rebellion against God is, in fact, rebellion against the source of Life, the Tree of Life,” Gamaliel said.  “Death is the natural result, even if it is postponed for a time.  What has that got to do with the forgiveness of sins?”

Gamaliel was bringing the discussion back to the key issue.

“Because there is no going back,” Benjamin said.  “Rebellion is a fact of life, a way of life and it has to be dealt with.”

Benjamin was clearheaded and sharp with his answers.  It even surprised him.  Was this what Nathanael had meant by the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit of God, giving him the words to speak in the proper moment? Benjamin breathed a silent prayer of thanks to heaven.

“We were created to live under the authority and blessing of God but we act and live as if God is unnecessary and as if we were an authority unto ourselves.  We are like married men living and acting as if we had no wife, no responsibility, no family.  We are used to it and reluctant to give up control over our lives.  We have rebelled against the authority of God and the result and punishment is death.  Because death is postponed, we think we don’t deserve it, but it is not so.  Blood will be shed, must be shed.  Someone would have to die.”

Benjamin paused, his hand in the air, his finger pointing upward.

“There was only one way to save mankind and in his great mercy God covenanted Himself to accomplish the impossible and do the unthinkable.”  He looked around the room to gauge the effect of his words on his audience.

“This is new even to my ears.” The famous rabbi spoke at last.  “When was this?”

“When Adonai Elohim made a covenant with Avraham,” Benjamin said.  “It was a covenant of promise.  Avraham was not required to do anything to receive it.  In the enactment of the covenant, El Shaddai, the Almighty God, showed Avraham a flying torch, representing Himself, which passed between the split carcasses of the sacrifices.  God was telling him that He would keep His promise to Avraham upon pain of death – His death.  He would –”

“But God always keeps His promises to His people,” Gamaliel said.  “It is we who are covenant breakers.”   The look on his face made it clear that he thought it was, after all, rather obvious.

“And yet, it is God who passed between the sacrifices, not Avraham and it is God who agrees on pain of death to complete his promise, not Avraham.” Benjamin went on, smiling.   It was not often that he caught his Bubba off guard.  “The promise to Avraham, after all, was the covenant counterpart to the promise of a Holy Warrior in the prophetic curse upon the serpent in the garden.”

“How so?”

In reply, Benjamin began to recite once again from the ancient text of beginnings.


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The Temptations of the Cross by Bert A. Amsing
Copyright © 2012 by vanKregten Publishers. All rights reserved.
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Footnotes and references included in original manuscript.