Prologue

JESUS_WAS_AN_ALIEN_does_this_look_right_cover“Adonai Elohim, God of my Master Gamaliel, I call out to you in my moment of need.”  Onkelos paused.  His mind was blank, his voice dead, the words repeated from memory.  What do I do now?  He was tired, so tired….and scared.

 “Adonai Elohim, God of Isra´el…..”  He stopped.  They were coming for him.  It would happen soon.  For some reason, he hadn’t thought of his mission as a dangerous one but it was now.

 He was in his hut on the edge of the village standing in the morning light that streamed through the open window, his prayer shawl over his head and his hands raised in prayer facing Yerushalayim.  He was about to sit down but then decided to try his prayers again.

 “Adonai Elohim, God of the Universe, you know all things, you know….”  His voice trailed off with a sigh and then he said quietly, “you know that I’m scared….” 

The confession hung in the air for a moment but then something changed.  Onkelos was scarcely aware of it but he felt a little stronger with that confession and took another step of faith.  

“I call out to you,  Great El Shaddai.  Will you hear my cry?  I need your help, O God.  I don’t know what to do.”


*****

 “Look,” Solis said.  “Can you see it?  It’s growing.”

 Melanchor was smiling.  “Yes, I see it.  Faith is a beautiful and powerful force.  Listen, the music is already starting.”  It flowed around them, swirling in and through them, a new start, a response to a confession, a call for help.  

 “His prayer will be heard in the throne room of the Almighty,” Solis said.  “Anything can happen after that.”  They were there to keep an eye on Onkelos even though he had not yet given his life to the Savior.  

“Here they come,” said Melanchor.  And around them appeared a company of angels, their faces full of the glory of Heaven.  Four of them stepped forward, nodded and smiled at Solis and Melanchor and then turned their attention to Onkelos, surrounding him as he stood in the morning light, tears on his face as he called out to God.

 All of the angels were absolutely quiet, not even a feather rustled as they listen to his prayer.

 “They are coming for me today,” Onkelos was saying.  “There is no escape.  There are too many of them.”  He was quiet again and the company of angels began to sing as his heart struggled to find faith.

Many are they increase that trouble me

Many are they that rise up against me

Many there be which say of my soul

There is no help for him in God.

Finally, it came.  It was said so quietly that Solis almost missed it.

“But you, O Lord, are a shield for me.” Onkelos said.  “You are my glory and the lifter of my head.”  It was said with his head hung low, his voice rough with emotion, fear and faith in deadly battle.  But it was said. 

But Thou, O Lord, are a shield for me

My glory and the lifter of my head.

Thou, O Lord, are a shield for me

My glory and the lifter of my head.

There it was again, stronger this time.  “But you, O Lord, are a shield for me.  You are the glory and the lifter of my head.”  And now Onkelos looked up toward heaven, his head lifted high.

Already the prayer was becoming a song and the angels reflected the desire and confession of Onkelos in their joy and in their music.  It was a Song of Faith that they all shared.

 I cry unto the Lord with my voice

And he heard me out of his holy hill

I lay me down and slept and awaken

For the Lord sustains, for He sustains me.

They could smell it, an aroma sweet and strong, filling the room and wafting around them.  The four angels who had presented themselves to Solis and Melanchor, took out a strange flask and a bowl and a lamp hidden in a box hanging by a chain which they would swing back and forth as they brought these prayers into the throne room of Heaven.  

The fourth angel cupped his hands together and a fire appeared there and grew as he opened his hands, the fire burning hot.  The flask and the bowl would capture the prayers of Onkelos, and the fire would burn the fragrance in the box and the smoke of the prayers of God’s people would waft throughout the halls of Heaven as they proceeded into the Presence of the Almighty.  

 For Thou, For Thou, For Thou, O Lord,

are a shield, are a shield, are a shield for me

My glory and the lifter of my head

The angels rose as one into the air.  Solis looked quickly at Melanchor who smiled his agreement and Solis followed them into Heaven.  As they rose into the clouds, row upon row of angels greeted them with song bringing the prayer higher and higher.  

 For Thou, For Thou, For Thou, O Lord,

are a shield, are a shield, are a shield for me

My glory and the lifter of my head.

Even higher they soared, their joy infectious as the song was taken up by the hosts of heaven who also declared that the Majesty was a shield and the lifter of heads.  The Song of Faith had the power to inspire even more faith.

For Thou, For Thou, For Thou, O Lord,

are a shield, are a shield, are a shield for me

My glory and the lifter of my head.

Finally, they arrived at the Portals of Heaven and they were greeted by thousands upon thousands of angels who clapped and sang with them the song of faith, the glory of the Majesty upon the throne.

 For Thou, For Thou,  O Lord,

are a shield, are a shield, are a shield for me

My glory and the lifter of my head.

The company of angels formed into a procession as a way opened for them leading to the throne, the four angels stepping solemnly forward swinging the incense of the prayer of Onkelos ignited and enflamed with the fire of Ruach HaKodesh,[1] the aroma and the smoke of the incense wafting throughout that Holy Place.

For Thou, For thou O Lord, are a shield for me

My glory and the lifter of my head, of my head,

of my head, of my head, of my head.

Then they stopped as they addressed the Majesty with a final burst of song and presented Him with the prayers of Onkelos.

My Head.

And all of Heaven burst out in applause as the Majesty received the prayers of Onkelos and turned his attention to the needs of this Seeker after God, this God Fearer.  Somehow, Solis knew that something significant had started.  A new story or, perhaps, a new ending.  He wasn’t sure which but he knew that it would be dangerous and that he would have a part in it. 

That was enough to make the young warrior laugh with joy. 


 

*****

The Temptations of the Cross   by Bert A. Amsing
Copyright © 2012 by vanKregten Publishers.  All rights reserved.
http://www.desertwarrior.net    info@desertwarrior.net
Footnotes and references included in original manuscript.

Thou, O Lord by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

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