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The Battles of Jericho

The Battles of Jericho

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The Battles of Jericho

Lunghezza:
271 pagine
4 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Sep 2, 2015
ISBN:
9781329528666
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Lucius has confronted God, been thrown into darkness and with him has taken nearly half of heaven's inhabitants, and in his wake has left Jericho bitter and confused. Jericho must pull himself out of his self-pity and put his trust in his Creator whether he understand Him or not. Join Jericho as he learns of love, loss, and worst of all: the fear that lies within himself.
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Sep 2, 2015
ISBN:
9781329528666
Formato:
Libro

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The Battles of Jericho - S. L. Boling

The Battles of Jericho

The Battles of Jericho

~ a novel ~

S. L. Boling

Text copyright © 2010 by S. L. Boling

All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, including photocopying or storing by electronic means, without the written permission of the copyright owner.

This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.

God, Jeremy, Jonah, Mom, Dad, Alex:

To my Family and my World. Anything I do is because of you.

PART I

Prologue

The Fall of an Angel

Long ago, evil left its home in the depths of the unknown, venturing out to find a slave. It came to a perfect place called Heaven where it found a welcoming host. The angel greeted it with purpose and excitement and nurtured it into a thriving infection. For years, he hid the evil within himself, but could suppress it no longer. Eager to display its power, he was relieved when the time finally came.

The Light had faded fourteen times since Lou began dreaming of his plan. He spent his time seeking out those who shared in his complaints, and in his solution. With the recruiting finished, Lou had finally collected a large enough following to overtake the Master. The familiar heat of jealousy and hatred rose in his chest coupled with an overwhelming sense of anticipation.

However, despite all that, Lou sat in his bedroom, stern and unmoving with two others at his side. They were discussing final thoughts and reminders of what was about to occur.

It will be at worship, Lou stated once more. Just make sure everything is ready. And if anyone changes their mind, they will be punished.

We will give everyone the message, she assured him. "There’s nothing to worry about. You have thought this through completely, my Master. This will be your day." She smiled laying her hand on his to dissuade his doubts. He shuddered and jerked away.

Of course I’m aware this is MY day! I am simply making sure this group of waste I’m speaking to understands their position! Her warm voice annoyed him, and he couldn’t believe he had once found her entrancing. She had quickly become a tiresome puppet needing far too much of his time.

Leave me! he commanded. Spread the word! And the meeting was over. The two quickly recognized this and rushed out of the room to take care of the final preparations.

Lou massaged his temples cursing the day he had such weaknesses. He walked over to a framed oval mirror standing in the corner of his room.

I will not let these frivolities upset my day, he thought. I’ll be rid of them soon enough.

The reflection in the mirror was near identical to the one he saw years before, but inwardly Lou knew the difference. He was stronger now, more powerful. He reveled at the genius hidden behind his handsome features. Fourteen years ago, he would never have been able to complete this task. He was much too weak and impatient, but now he had a following that God could not ignore.

For the millionth time Lou envisioned it: He would stand up and challenge God. With God overthrown, all the multitudes would bow down to Lou. An evil grin grew across his face until the corners of his mouth reached the tips of his ears. He was going to kill God!

The only flaw in Lou’s plan was that he didn’t know how to kill. The concept was very clear, but the deed itself was a mystery. No one had ever attempted such a thing before, but Lou was placing his hope in a power that existed beyond the borders of Heaven. He couldn’t believe that God was all there was in this world nor did he think his efforts would go unrewarded. His unfulfilled passions had tortured him long enough, and he couldn’t want – no, he couldn’t need something this much and it not turn out the way he deserved.

Lust for power brooded and festered in his soul. He breathed it in and studied the reflection of his eyes in the mirror. They were glowing rubies; flaming red rimmed with green. He saw within them his fantasies and wanted to live there.

My reign is close at hand, he said. And I am ready.

The whole of heaven had assembled before the Highest King and were worshipping without reserve. The great Light warmed the air wrapping the singing hearts in a blanket of bliss. A gentle breeze carried their song up and down the River saturating the skies in jubilation.

And sitting at the top of the hill overlooking the crowd were the Master and His Son brimming with the glorious praises of the numerous throng. The angels stretched far beyond sight yet each looked upon the Father with ease and communicated their love for him easily. They were so earnest in their worshipping that they didn’t notice a change in the air, nor did they recognize the evil standing beside them.

Lou was in the midst of the angels although he neither worshipped nor pretended. He had dropped the act and stood with arms crossed glaring at the throne. Patiently, Lou waited for his moment, watching God’s every move. Currently He was speaking with His Son, smiling and pleasant but then, without warning, God’s head spun in Lou’s direction. The smile was replaced with an unreadable expression.

Their eyes met and neither blinked. Beads of sweat broke out on Lou’s forehead followed by labored breathing. Some of the worshippers took notice of him and instinctively began to back away. Lou was trying to hold the gaze of God, but felt his resolve slipping. Only his unbelievable hatred fueled his attempt this far. His brows furrowed and he focused on the Master’s eyes, seeing the love that filled them and hating it.

Lucius. Lou felt God speak his name and his gaze immediately dropped. Look at me. Lou did as asked, but with the same malevolence written on his face. They began to communicate without speaking.

I know what you are after, Lucius. My power isn’t something that can be taken, but if you were to succeed, what would you do with it?

"I will succeed and I will crush you with it!" Lou replied.

Then your planning and plotting have been in vain, because that cannot be done. I can’t be ‘crushed’ as you put it.

You may know something of my efforts, but you know nothing of my strength! You’re just frightened and not without great cause I assure you. 

I created you, Lucius. I know what is in you. I am not frightened; I am grieved by what you’ve allowed to consume you.

You can’t talk me out of this! Lucius said. I have made up my mind! You are…you’re…not… He couldn’t finish. He wanted to. He wanted to tell God to His face what he had been saying behind His back, but try as he might, he could not voice his thoughts.

This is your last chance, Lucius, God said firmly. What you have planned will never come to pass. I’ve always been and will always be. It’s impossible for you to destroy me. The perception you have of your own beauty and worth has blinded you. You don’t know what this decision’s going to cost you. Lou laughed. Change from your ways, Lucius and I will forgive you. If you never look back neither will I.

No! Lou said. I refuse to give into you any longer!

So be it. One last thing: Don’t leave my love, Lucius. You can be nothing without it.

There was an angel by the name of Mary in the crowd. She loved her Creator and was singing directly to His heart. Completely immersed in worship, she allowed His warmth to wash over her. However, when she opened her eyes, a breeze blew over her, and she began shivering. A soft hum broke into her thoughts. It quickly became a loud, annoying buzz and she was unable to concentrate on anything else. She looked to the Father for comfort and saw a somber look on His face; one she had never seen before. The look was of dread, yet not one of distress. She didn’t understand what was going on.

Just then, the Master shifted his gaze toward her and even though she instantly felt the warmth return, somehow she knew her son was about to make a big mistake. She didn’t fully understand what her son was planning or how terrible it would be, but she began to look for him, trying to persuade him one last time.

Peace, my child. The Lord spoke to her and she was still. An unsteady note was pulsating through the din and Mary stood calmly, waiting for the oncoming storm. A tear ran down her face.

In that moment, one song had ended and another was beginning. In that moment, everyone saw a single angel flying overhead, his majestic wings gracefully soaring toward the throne. In that moment, a concept called change was introduced for the very first time.

Lou reached the throne, but did not touch the ground. He continued to hover in front of the Master making sure to fly just above Him. The singing had completely ceased. No one was making a sound. The majority of the throng was completely in awe by the bold dishonor they were witnessing while the rest were holding their breath, frightened at what they were about to do.

For a few moments, no one moved. The Master just looked at Lou, patiently watching him. In his plans, Lou always waited for God to say something first. That was when he would interrupt the tyrant ruler with a resounding voice and announce that they had all been deceived from the beginning.  

Lou drew himself up to his full height. He momentarily thought of God’s Love. Tears came to his eyes. It had never done him any good. He did not want it. He grasped onto the revulsion that consumed him, turned to face the crowd, and opened his mouth to speak:

"My friends, I know this is strange to see, but I have information that you have to hear. It has been hidden from you long enough. We have all been deceived, and He is why." Lou pointed at the Master. There was a collective gasp of breath. What was going on?

He has told us that He created us, that we are to serve and worship Him, but why? Why must we do that? That’s not an existence. That’s slavery! He sits here on His throne caring noth…nothing…of us… His thoughts became unclear and the edges of his mind went numb. Lou forgot what he was saying and stumbled over his next words.

Um…He…He cares nothing for us. He just wants our unquestioned adoration and gives us nothing in return. But, this is not the way it has to be, my friends! he added with a comforting smile. We don’t have to spend endless days singing the same songs, doing the same things, just for Him! What has He ever done for us? Lou let the question hang in the air. He had expected there to be a few nods or other signs of agreement at this point, but all he saw were looks of hurt and confusion. He wondered how long it was going to take to convince them. He pressed on.

I know this is hard to believe; hard to grasp that our whole existence has been for nothing, but that is why I have taken the courage to stand up to Him so He can’t do this to us any longer. I know that I am not the only one who has had this thought...even if just for a moment. There must be others! This was it: his crescendo. If there is anyone who agrees with me, who has had any doubt, now is the time to take a stand. We must stop this! As he said this, many rose from where they stood and hovered above the rest of the crowd. The ones left standing on the ground looked up in amazement. They couldn’t believe there were actually some who agreed with Lou, many of whom they recognized and considered friends. A second later, the more fearful ones who had also promised their allegiance to Lou began to rise as well.

There were so many, nearly half. Lou observed these new developments as if he were watching a play. He studied the faces of his followers seeing fear and weakness. He looked at the faces of the ignorant and saw shock and confusion. He was satisfied with the demonstration even though it hadn’t gone exactly as he imagined. It didn’t have the same flare he had fantasized, but overall he was pleased, and he knew these people were going to bow to him as soon as he had gotten rid of the One standing in his way. He turned and looked at God.

I am giving you this chance to step down. We will no longer stand for this. We know now that you do not care for us and we are tired of being your pawns! You will be removed, be it willing or otherwise.

Up until this point, the Master had been silent. He had merely been watching over the procession, but now He stood up and towered over Lou.

How is it you expect to remove me beyond my own will?

Lou drew himself up to his full height once again, but the Master still shadowed him.

"I will remove you…I will kill you!" he said.

"Then you have chosen this path. You are no longer mine. You desire power and servants, riches and adoration. They will never be given to you on the scale you imagine! I will never bow down to you!"

In an instant, Lou became fearfully angry. God was mocking him and he became ever more livid. He began gnashing his teeth and breathing heavily. Slipping his hand inside his robe, Lou drew out a gleaming sword. It was perfectly balanced and felt light in his hand. The blade was made of unbreakable quartz the color of amber, and the hilt was midnight black. Had Lou examined it further, he would have seen his future carved in the handle. However, past the hatred glistening in his eyes, the only thing he saw was the chest of the One who was ruining his life.

He clumsily pulled the sword back and with all his strength thrust it toward the Master screaming, I…AM…GOD! as he traveled closer. The tip of the blade hit the Master, but did not penetrate. Lou’s arm felt as if it had shattered against an immovable wall. His body, still in forward momentum, hit the hilt of the sword and it knocked him to the ground breathless.

Enough! the Master announced. "Your wisdom has been blinded by your greed. You will be sent to the pit of all things. In darkness, you will be held to be your own god. You will brood in the fire of evil and that is where you will be for all eternity, burning in ways you cannot begin to imagine.

However, before then, in the fullness of time, I will have a purpose for you. You will be set loose from your chains for a short while and you will serve my purpose. You have gone from the highest splendor to the lowest crevices of evil, and there you will stay until I say. Now…Go!

And with that, Lou and all his followers vanished from the Creator’s sight and would not enter there again for some time. They were now in the pit, in total darkness bound by chains. Lou could hear the grumblings of the ones who had been sent with him. His plans had been thwarted, completely destroyed. The hatred burned in him even more fiercely. He would get his revenge! Yes, he would get revenge!

Chapter One:

A Memorable Morning

It was the first day of school and Jericho was very excited. He was up and ready to go before his parents, and he even made his bed without being asked.

Jericho had never been to school before. This would be his very first day attending Garner Preparatory Academy, Garner Prep for short, and even though he had heard a lot from his older brother, he still didn’t know exactly what to expect.

He knew that the Academy was started around the same time his brother was born, and that, at school he would learn how to be better at the family trade. Jericho was excited to learn more about what his parents did.

In fact, Jericho was so excited, he couldn’t sit still at the table during breakfast. He was up and down and his parents were continually telling him to finish his food. Jericho couldn’t believe how calm his parents were being. This wasn’t just an ordinary day, it was his first day of school, but they merely sat in their chairs reading their own section of the Heavenly Herald and commenting only when they felt it necessary.

Only annoyed further that his parents didn’t make mention of anything interesting such as what they would be serving for lunch that day or if his lost frog had been found, Jericho decided to go through his school bag one more time. He sat down at his mother’s feet and carefully took each item from his bag. He had several writing tablets, new pencils, and his own set of brushes and paint for geography class. Jericho’s brother told him that for this class, he and his classmates would fly all the way to the empty edges of Heaven. There he would get his own piece of sky so he could paint it however he wished. Jericho couldn’t wait.

The next thing Jericho pulled from his bag was a book, the only schoolbook he would need throughout his entire school career. He was curious about this book, because his brother said that the teacher taught the last part of this book first and that the beginning of the book hadn’t even been written yet. Jericho wasn’t sure what that meant, but it sounded exciting.

For Worship Class, Jericho needed a musical instrument. He had a hard time picking just one, but finally decided on the saxophone. He loved the sound it made and the way the brass shined in the Light. He gingerly sat it down on the ground with the rest of his things and continued through his bag.

Out of all his new school supplies, his absolute prized possession was his pencil box. It was long, rectangular and colored with glossy greens and blues that swirled together. It also had a secret compartment that would only open when he touched it. What made this even more special was that his grandfather had made it for his dad when he was younger, and now it was entrusted to Jericho. It even had the name of the previous owner burned on the back of the box. Jericho looked at his father’s name and then ran his finger over his own name. He vowed he would take care of the pencil box just as his father had.

Having scrupulously examined everything, Jericho replaced all of the items back into his bag and looked at the clock on the wall behind his mother. He couldn’t believe how slow time was creeping.

His mother saw Jericho’s exasperated look and smiled down at him. She had blonde hair that reached down her back in loose curls, and shimmered in the Light. Her legs were crossed on the chair in front of her and she sipped from a mug of honey-flavored coffee that was in her right hand and read a folded-down newspaper in her left. Blue eyes that were almost clear looked down on her son and danced as she watched him. Jericho always thought his mom was lovely because she was so kind and gentle, and of course because she was his mother, but, in fact, her beauty could only be surpassed by a few others.

"How much longer, Mom?’ Jericho whined.

Do you see the long hand on the clock? she asked. He nodded. When it is pointing straight up, then it will be time to leave. Jericho looked at the clock and saw there was still five whole numbers to go.

What am I supposed to do for that long? he asked.

Why don’t you see how your brother’s coming along? He has to be ready first, you know.

Mom! He’s probably up already. It’s the first day of school! As if being reminded, Jericho became so excited that he danced around the table shaking his backside and spinning in circles. His mother shook her head at him still smiling. She raised her eyebrows at him and tilted her head to one side. Even at Jericho’s young age, he understood this to be the look saying that Mom’s

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