Like detonations of a blast, staccato footfalls echoed louder with their approach. If I had the capability of an adrenaline rush, it would have exploded full force about now. I hastened my steps, turned down a labyrinthine marble passageway that exited into a scene from Eden; I slumped onto a bench half shrouded by dangling clusters of wisteria. It was all for naught; my pursuer swooped down upon me. I could no longer contain myself as laughter burst from my mouth.
"Adelphos," he wheezed, "why didn't you wait? I need to talk to you."
Perhaps, in the previous age I would have continued this game of chase. I grabbed his hand, "Jezreel! It's good to see. . ." His troubled face halted my words. "Why so downcast?"
Before me stood a youth with sable hair, dusky skin, and woeful eyes. He had turned 102 the previous month. We lived in the Kingdom Age. Before Christ's return, it was referred to as the Millennium. That three-score-and-ten lifespan was extended to centuries in the kingdom age; a person of a hundred was considered young.
Jezreel confessed; he was being punished for theft. "I probably would have returned the coins shortly." Probably would have. I didn't think that was his original intent. Justice, swiftly meted out, was another difference between this age and the previous one.
Nearby, a lamb hobbled over and tucked its wobbly legs underneath as it settled down next to a slumbering wolf. The wolf blinked, then its eyes sealed shut as together they reposed on a plush malachite-green lawn. On the horizon I saw a small murky puff of smoke with tendrils that churned as if seeking a victim. The thousand year reign was almost over. The year was 997 KA--Kingdom Age.
"You know justice is swift, Jezreel. What were you thinking; to steal, then expect to get away with it?" I attempted to draw him out.
"Yeah, I'm to make four-fold restitution." Then his face brightened somewhat. "Tell me, what was it like in the age you lived, before Christ returned?"
Instantly my thoughts flashed to--Knowledge shall increase. It wasn't just technological knowledge, but spiritual knowledge, also, increased. It was all about the Feasts of the Lord, His appointed times. We didn't understand them until a few years before His return. How, in all those years of Bible study, had we missed that? The Lord's Feasts from the rarely-read Old Testament book, Leviticus, declared God's plan for the ages. When we realized His first advent fulfilled the prophecies from the Spring Feasts, we ravenously began studying the Fall Feasts in anticipation of His return. Like the two on the road to Emmaus, our hearts burned within us. In those end times, that "glass darkly" that we saw throughbrightened just a bit.
I kept those thoughts to myself as I answered, "Earthquakes, there was an increasing number of earthquakes."
Bewilderment spread across Jezreel's face, "What, pray tell, is an 'earthquake'? Did something frighten the earth to cause it to quake?" He jested, but perhaps there was a bit of truth in his statement. In anticipation of the destruction that would soon transpire, perhaps the earth did shudder.
Woeful eyes metamorphosed as they teased, "You have your glorified body that allows you to do things that a human can't, so tell me, what is Saturn like?"
Now it was my turn for levity. With my brow knit, I chewed on my finger in mock contemplation. "Saturn can best be viewed from the moons of Jupiter." Jezreel gave my shoulder a brotherly jab as he strode away.
My gaze was again captured by the ever-shifting shadow on the horizon. A hint of sulfur wafted then mingled with wisteria. I remembered what the end of this age held. The Evil One would be released from the abyss and he would gather an army to fight against the King. I shook my head. As had happened in every age of man, so too, this age would not be immune. Many would be deceived by The Evil One. This time, it was not the earth, but it was I who shuddered for what must soon come to pass.
Leviticus 23; I Corinthians 13:12; Isaiah 11:6-8; Isaiah 65:20; Isaiah 51:3; Revelation 19:15;
Revelation 20:7-10; Matthew 24:3-11; Daniel 12:4; Philippians 3:20-21; Luke 24:27, 32
Copyright Beth LaBuff 2014
Before Beth LaBuff and her husband, Tilman, moved to the high desert of Arizona, she lived most of her life surrounded by the cornfields of Adair County, Iowa.