Sketching HIStory #21

Gen 18,19 – God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah

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When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. [Gen 18:16]

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Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare e the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”

“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”

He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”

He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.  [Gen 18:17-33]

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The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. [Gen 19:1-3]

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How did Lot (Abraham’s nephew) end up in Sodom?

Back in Gen 13, Lot separated from Abraham when Lot’s flock of sheep became so large that the land they both grazed in could not sustain both their flocks. When given a choice, Lot chose to bring his entire household and flocks down to the fertile valley around the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Then in Gen 14, after he and his family became prisoners by a marauding army and then being saved by his uncle Abraham, Lot chose to reside inside the city of Sodom for better security.

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Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. [Gen 19:4-10]

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Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. [Gen 19:11]
The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”

So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”

He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)  [Gen 19:12-22]

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By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. [Gen 19:23-26]

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Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace. [Gen 19:27-28]

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What happened to Lot later?

After Lot and his daughters survived the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, they eventually ended living like hermits in a cave somewhere in the mountain range east of the Dead Sea. Because of their isolation, Lot was tricked by his daughters to have incest intercourse with them. The result was he siring Moab and Ben-Ammi who became the fathers of the Moabites and the Ammonites. Both people will later be a factor in Abraham’s descendants’ destiny.

THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch16 – part 6

SPEARS AND SHIELDS – GadaraCG-book-cover-w

The attack started. Cornelius noted that Aretas was committing his Nubian mercenaries and holding back his Arab contingent. The Nubian warriors were known for their ferociousness. He had seen captured warriors fight in the arena. Their attacks are fast and relentless. Even when badly wounded, they would press on. Nubians are lightly armored, preferring leather than bronze. Speed and agility are their advantage. Their shields are light, covered with a thick hide but not good enough to stop an iron tipped arrow. Their primary weapon is a short spear that is really two weapons in one. It is not a throwing spear. It has a ten inch long leaf shaped blade, able to be used like a sword. At the other end of the shaft is a round ball made of solid bone able to crush heads even with helmets on. They also carried two long throwing spears.

Before the Nubians moved forward, they sang a rhythmic eerie song and beat their weapons against their shields. After about twenty minutes, they all shouted in a high pitch scream and surged forward at a dead run. There was no formation. They intend to use their numbers to quickly overwhelm the defenders. When they were about a hundred yards, several whistles sounded, signaling the first line to quickly retreat. At the same time, the archers let loose their deadly rain. Hundreds fell. But Cornelius saw not enough mainly because they only had two hundred archers. It was too bad that they did not have time to set up even one of the three balistras that were still back at the fort. One could launch a thousand arrows a shot.

At twenty yards, the front elements threw their first spears. The legionnaires training and discipline kicked in. The shields of the front line faced forward forming a tight wall while all the lines behind lifted and locked their shields to form an impenetrable shell. Most of the spears bounced off harmlessly, but a few found its mark as Cornelius noted a few screams within the ranks.

The Nubian front lines sped up. Their tactics against the Roman shell were for the first elements to bodily throw themselves to collapse the shield wall in the initial hit allowing the other rushing ranks to swarm through the breach. This was an effective tactic used against the Legions in the past. This day, however, Arturos’ cohorts have a weapon borrowed from the Greeks a suggestion offered by Cornelius during the planning stages some months back. The front howling ranks of Nubians incredibly leaped the dug trench but were surprised to find hundreds of stout twenty foot long spears jutting out through the tightly pact shields. Though a few missed the spears, most were pinioned on them screaming in agony. The shield wall held.

As the next ranks had to contend with jumping into and trying to fight their way out of the ditch, a loud signal was sounded then together the shell opened up and hundreds of deadly javelins were thrown from the cohort’s second to the fifth ranks. From his high vantage point, Cornelius saw the forward momentum pause as the next ranks of hundred of men fell back by the javelin onslaught. It was like a giant scythe swept right through them.

During this respite, another signal was given and the tired first and second ranks retreated to the rear as a fresh new shield wall were formed by the rested third and fourth lines. By then, the whole length of the ditch was filled to the brim with dead and dying of both sides but mostly of theirs. This time, the Nubians came forward slowly in line formation. They had to walk on their dead and dying comrades and hit the shield wall again. Cornelius noted the rear ranks break off left and right to scale the sloped sides. Several times they were repulsed by the archers and the auxiliary units who threw stones and boulders down on them but yet they still came.

Then Cornelius heard his name called from below.

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch16 – part 5

SPEARS AND SHIELDS – GadaraCG-book-cover-w

Then the trumpets were sounded. It was the call for assembly. Cornelius jumped out of his seat and Jacob helped him with his armor. As he put on his furred cloak against the cold, he told Jacob to get the boy and stay in their quarters. Cornelius quickly went out of his tent and ran into Flavius. They both rushed to the assembly area.

The legionnaires stood at their respective formation facing a raised wooden platform. Cornelius joined Tribune Arturos as he and two other officers were mounting the platform.

“Legionnaires!” Arturos called all of them to attention. “Our eastern patrol had returned and they reported that the enemy is on the march. They are marching toward us.” The men cheered with enthusiasm. Cornelius knew the men were eager for a fight after four boring months of tedious training and patrols. “We shall meet this force and we shall prevail!” The men cheered even louder.

Arturos went back into his command tent with Cornelius and the other officers in tow. “Gentlemen, our scouts counted over seven thousand men; five thousand of which are the Nubians. We have over fifteen hundred plus three hundred cavalry. We have another five hundred from the city garrison which we will use as reserves. I have sent fast riders to Gerasa which is two hours away by horse. We can expect their cavalry of one thousand to reach us in four. Their infantry will not arrive in time. Aretas will know this. So, he will hit us and try to overwhelm us before reinforcement arrives. If he succeeds, it would not matter if our forces arrive later, because by then he would fortify Gadara.”

Going over to a map stretched out on an easel, it showed a detailed rendering of the terrain east of the Hellenic city of Gadara. Arturos pointed right at some markings that he earlier made. That part of the map showed a long valley flanked by two high ridges.

“We will meet them here at this narrow gap! This valley is the shortest route for them to get to Gadara. They will have no choice but to attack our positions there. We have to hold until reinforcements.”

Two hours later, the two cohorts were in battle formation in the narrowest part of the valley. Rising left and right of the gap were sheer sloped terrain. Though the sloped terrain was not impossible to climb, it would take too long and it would be costly, for Arturos positioned his archers supported by auxiliary units from the city garrison on both slopes. Cornelius saw that the gap between the two slopes was narrow enough for only four hundred men to stand a breast of each other. This was perfect for a defensive position. Though the enemy greatly out numbered them by almost three to one, they can only commit several hundreds at a time. And to add more chaos into the mix, the legionnaires quickly dug up a four foot wide and three foot deep ditch that stretch from one slope to the other. To hide the ditch from the enemy a single line of soldiers will stand before it. The plan was that on the initial attack, the first line will be signaled to withdraw down into the ditch and back up into the main body. Fortunately, they finished the ditch as the enemy came into sight at the other end of the valley.

Arturos and Cornelius were standing on a level ledge half way up the North slope watching Aretas’ army form up in attack formation. They could just make out their counterparts putting up a pavilion on a small ridge behind their units.

“By the gods, Cornelius,” Arturos quietly said nervously. “I have to tell you my mouth is dry and my insides are shaking! I am afraid.”

“I would be even more concerned if you were not.”

Arturos looked at him. “Are you afraid? You do not look it.”

“Of course? Every good soldier would be, even veterans. We just do not show it.”

“Well, Centurion? I am only too glad that you are here with me today.”

The attack started.

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The story continues on in my next post.

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Sketching HIStory – Update News

Greetings to all who are following my Sketching HIStory Blog.

ChristmasCard2019-w.jpgFirst, I would like to apologize that I have not posted for some time. I am sure you have heard of how many authors/bloggers hit an inspiration wall called “writer’s block”. Well, I fear that I too have succumbed to a… ahem… “sketcher/writer’s block”.

The reason behind it is that I found myself on another crossroad where I have to choose between being a financial burden or a contributing member of society. Of course, I do not want to be a burden to anyone, though the Lord is always there to provide through family, friends and most especially my wife. Yet, I feel it right to work out a way to use all my abilities… which by the way, the good Lord had graciously given me… to become first a provider to my wife who had selflessly set her life as my primary caregiver. For me to achieve being the bread winner, I have to focus on writing (which I am still not as prolific) and/or start a small business to sell my digital art created through “Sketching from the Neck Up”. This is a great challenge for me as I have never done this before. I pray that the Lord will give me wisdom as I explore this endeavor and grant me success… for HIS GLORY.

Meanwhile, I do intend to continue Sketching HIStory. I ask though for your patience and look for future posts after the Christmas holidays. I encourage you, though, please continue to get to know HIS story by taking 10 minutes of your time each day (or every other day) and read the rest of Genesis in the Bible. Believe me, when you active seek Him, He will make Himself known to you.

I am sure as you continue reading the Bible on your own, there will be many questions. So, I offer myself for you to contact me online by:

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[2] Message me on Facebook

I pray that everyone of you will be well and joyful.

Bye for now,

JOHANN Q

THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch16 – part 4

SPEARS AND SHIELDS – GadaraCG-book-cover-w

Cornelius was relieved that he was finally alone. He hoped that there will be no distractions for the rest of the day. He sat on his chair and opened up the big book. The night before, he completed translating a prophetical discourse of the Messiah’s message of encouragement to Israel. Whether it is to the Israel of today or the next generation is still up in question. The next passages he was reading had the beginnings of a new chapter designation. This chapter piqued his interest for it had a different ring to it than any of the preceding chapters. The Prophet Isaiah seems to be describing on what is to happen to the Messiah and it describes him suffering greatly even unto death.

On a separate parchment sheet, he translated the fifteen Hebrew verses into Greek. After reading it three times, he had to wonder if Isaiah was describing a literal happening or something that was figurative. He hoped it was the latter.

When Jacob returned, he beckoned that he sits next to him. “Jacob, look at these passages!” He slid the big book to him and pointed at the desired passages. “Let me read out loud my translation to you and you follow by reading the Hebrew. Tell me if I have gotten it right.”

“Behold, my servant will prosper;
He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.

“Just as many were astonished at you, My people,
So His appearance was marred more than any man
And His form more than the sons of men.

“Thus He will sprinkle many nations,
Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him;
For what had not been told them they will see,
And what they had not heard they will understand. [Isaiah 52:13-15 NASB]

“Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

“For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

“He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

“He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.

“By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

“His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

“But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

“As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.

“Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.” [Isaiah 53 NASB]

“Cornelius, this is going to be strange to hear,” Jacob quietly said as he lifted his eyes. “But you have come upon a passage that I am strangely unfamiliar with. Though I have read this prophet many times, I do not honestly recall these particular words. Of course, I do tend to mostly focus on prophetic promises. I am ashamed to admit that this selfishness had blinded me to miss out on what should be a profound revelation to my God’s character.”

Jacob went silent. Cornelius could see that he was lost in his thoughts and did not want to intrude. He reached for another sheet of parchment which had his notes of the preceding chapters including many chapters that he jumped ahead right after this one. On his notes, he reviewed the list of the works of the Messiah. It is quite clear that the Messiah will fulfill everything that God had promise to not only to Israel but to the world. But this chapter which describes what happens to the Messiah stands out from the rest. He could not make it fit.

“This chapter is an enigma!” Cornelius said, breaking the silence.

“How so?”

“This indicated that Messiah is to be killed and that God allowed it. How is this futuristic kingdom to be ushered in if the Messiah is killed?”

“There lies the mystery. As a young scribe, I tried to make sense of much of prophecy. The problem is that we are reading of things that are yet to happen. Understanding comes when they are finally fulfilled. Look at what we uncovered so far that convinced us that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. When I first came upon the prophecy of the sign of the virgin birth, I did not think it was literal. Then we hear Mariam’s account of Jesus’ birth. Then there are those things that he had done which again fit. But his story is not yet over. There is only one absolute truth that we can count on. If God says that it is going to happen, then IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN!”

“But why such suffering and then death?”

Before Jacob could answer, multiple whistle sounds can be heard through out the fort. Then the trumpets were sounded.

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The story continues on in my next post.

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Johann Q

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 071

DEMACLI THE LEGION DEMONIAC
33 AD – The Last Supper – Jerusalem, Judeafaithful-encounters-cover-w

As they entered, Demacli and his companions were also greeted by the rest of the Twelve. From what he saw, he estimated that there were about forty people there. The large room was set up with twelve low round tables already laden with food and beverage.

“Demacli, you and your companions will join my family,” said Simon of Bethany who happily led them to the middle of the room. On a raised platform at the center, two laden tables were reserved for Jesus, the Twelve and selected few. Simon and his household occupied three tables adjacent to the platform. The Greeks decided to split up among the three tables. Demacli and Elpida sat with an aged man named Imraam who was a close friend of Simon.

Imraam was quite jovial. They discovered that the reason for his joviality was that for thirty eight years he was once an invalid but then miraculously cured. To emphasize it, he quickly got to his feet with the agility of a teenager. The others around the table were clapping and laughing with him. After which he proceeded to tell them his tale.

Imraam was once a sprite young man. At an early age, he became successful in his business. He became one of the riches men in Jerusalem, but then tragedy hit. His neighborhood was struck with pestilence and many died. As for Imraam, he survived the sickness but it left him paralyzed for over three decades. In desperation, he heard of a story of an angel that stirred the water of a pool under north east wall of the Temple Mount where the sacrificial sheep were gathered. It was called the pool of Bethesda which was surrounded by five covered colonnades. The story was that when the water was stirred and the first person to jump in would be healed. Several times, the water rippled and a stampede of the blind, the lame and other cripples would clamber over each other to get into the pool first. Usually Imraam never had a chance without help.

One day, he was lying on his mat away from the crowd of waiting sick people, when he saw his friend Simon walking with a group of men whom by their clothing he surmised were from the northern province of Galilee. They were at the other end of the pool walking toward the entrance of the Sheep Gate. He wished he could hail his friend but he felt particularly weaker that day. Then, one of the Galileans paused in his stride and looked toward him. At first, he thought the stranger was looking not at him directly but at something else beyond. Simon who noticed that the stranger had paused, also peered at his direction. Simon recognized Imraam right away, raised his hand in greeting, at the same time was whispering in the stranger’s ear.

Imraam was imagining what Simon was divulging and was a little upset. But then Simon and four of the men started to work their way through the crowd toward him. When they were about ten feet from him, that stranger, who seem to be the leader, gestured for them to wait. He approached, crouched down and asked, “Do you want to get well?”

Imraam was a little surprised by the question. He wanted to scream a resounding ‘of course’ but instead mumbled something about him unable to get help so he can get into the pool when the water is stirred. Then the stranger smiled and in a gentle but yet commanding voice, he said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

Then Imraam felt a heating sensation going from his lower back down to his toes. When he looked at his legs, his eyes widened to find not his shriveled legs but a pair of healthy limbs. The stranger stood and held out a hand. Imraam was even more surprised that he had strength to reach up and grasp his hand. The stranger pulled him up onto his legs. He felt dizzy for a quick moment and his legs were a little wobbly as he stood there looking down at his toes wiggling. Then, he turned, took several steps and looked at the invalids around the pool, some of whom had the look of astonishment as they watched him. It was then that the realization finally hit him that he jumped in the air and whooped. After several minutes, he quieted down and remembered something. He went back to his mat, rolled it up and picked it up. He looked around for the stranger to ask him who he was, but he was nowhere to be seen. He decided to walk home and shock his relatives. [John 5:1-15]

Imraam burst into laughter and jovially told them on how he got into trouble for carrying his mat on the Sabbath. It was then that he re-met with the stranger and found out who he really was. Then he plopped down feigning exhaustion and looked at Demacli asking, “So, what is your story?”

So, Demacli told him about his own experiences and how Jesus freed him. Wide eyed, Imraam was esctatic again.

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch16 – part 3

SPEARS AND SHIELDS – GadaraCG-book-cover-w

The winter was harsh out here in the wilderness east of Gadara. Four cold months had past. The fort was built on top of a table top plateau. The plateau had only one way in; a wide naturally sloped ramp that descended into a valley. The other three sides were sheer drops to the bottom of a deep canyon. This made it an ideal defensive location for the Romans. Because wood was scarce, the engineers dug a deep trench spanning the entrance of the plateau leaving a bridge in the center wide enough for wagons. Then they used the dug up material to build up a fifteen foot high earthen works leaving a gap in the center for a gate. Finding a ready supply of shingle rocks, they also manage to build up six foot tall walls with battlements on the earthen works.

On one particularly cold morning, Cornelius and Flavius were inspecting the high fortified earthen works in the trench. An unseasonable squall came in from the west and it brought chilling rain off and on instead of snow for the past two days.

“Well, there are no signs of erosion,” Flavius shouted from one end of the trench. “The rain did not even pool up in bottom of the trench.”

“Good thing too,” Cornelius called back. “That last squall last night brought in a lot of rain. But it looks like the engineers did their job well. Come, Flavius! Let us go back in out of the cold.”

Cestus was on the top of the trench holding a length of rope waiting to pull them out. When they finally climbed out, they went back into the fort through the stout gates. To avoid walking in the chilled wind, they walked in between the rows upon rows of large campaign tents. Occasionally, they would stop to warm their hands with a group of legionnaires huddled around a brazier. When they finally reached Cornelius’ tent, Jacob was there with hot spiced wine waiting for them.

Looking around, Flavius asked, “Where is the lad?”

“Cestus had him doing punishment duty,” Cornelius and Jacob were chuckling. “He is standing watch near the latrines at the far end of the camp.”

Flavius was laughing. “You have to admit that his practical joke on the fifth squad was inspiring. When I saw that ram dressed up in Optio Gallino’s armor butting its head against those men, I was laughing out of my skin. They should not have teased him so much.”

“Yes, it was amusing, until that same ram went into Tribune Arturos’ tent and almost burnt it down when it knocked down a brazier. The lad was lucky that he was not punished harshly. But he did get an earful from the Tribune.”

“Oh yes, we could hear him way in the other side of the camp. Do not fret, you know the Tribune is as fond of the boy as we all are.”

Flavius walked over to the table where Cornelius had all his books open and loose parchment papers were strewn over them. “Are you still studying this manuscript of?” he peered closely at the translated title, “I s a y a h? I thought you would be finished with it by now.”

“Cornelius is not as adept in reading old Hebrew as he is to speaking it.” Jacob said off hand. “But he is persistent.”

“Besides which that I have been busy with the Tribune and looking over your shoddy work as well.”

“I see. I see. I know when I am no longer welcomed. I will leave you to your scholarly work.” He left the tent laughing.

Jacob was also wrapping his cloak around him. “I will bring this hot food to the boy. I shall return soon.”

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The story continues on in my next post.

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FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 070

DEMACLI THE LEGION DEMONIAC
33 AD – The Greek Visitors – Jerusalem, Judeafaithful-encounters-cover-w

Recap Part 68 & 69

Several minutes had past when Philip reappeared at the double doors of the house and happily gestured for all of them to enter.

Looking about the large entryway of what Demacli could tell was once a grand residence of old. But instead of ornate furniture, the room had bags of grain stacked all the way up to the ceiling. Rows of worktables were pushed up against another wall.

“Who’s house is this?”

“It is mine.” A man about the same age of his father and a younger man came ambling through a side door carrying trays of flat herbal breads. He handed the tray he was carrying to a passing servant who was also bringing food up the stairs. “Welcome,” he said, “I am Simon of Bethany. The master told us to expect you and your group of believers from Hippus.”

Demacli blinked. Simon chuckled at his reaction. “Yes, I know. The master still surprises me the same way. Come. Let us go up.”

They all started to ascend the broad stairs case.

“I have done business at Hippus in the past,” Simon said. “At that matter, I do a lot of trading in the free cities.”

“You probably dealt with my father, then,” Demacli said.

“Oh, I have,” Simon said.

Demacli turned to look at him.

“As soon as I set my eyes on your face, I saw a younger image of him.” Simon was chuckling again. “Your father and I were dealing with each other since before you were born. But I have not seen him in the past ten years. Oh, I still deal with him but through my merchants that treks back and forth. I’m afraid I’m just a little too old taking those long trips through a scorching desert and fighting off robbers. And then I had to deal with your father. He was a shrewd man. Those were good days.”

“Demacli!” A voice called as they reached the top of the stairs. “You have arrived.”

Demacli saw it was the Master waiting with some of the disciples by tall ornately carved double doors. He and the other Greeks rushed up to him and quickly got down on their knees bowing to him.

“Get up, my friends,” Jesus said. “You have arrived on time for our celebration.”

“Thank you, Lord.”

Jesus greeted them all. When he got to Elpida, he smiled greatly.

“Elpida,” Jesus greeted fondly, “My heart is joyful of your union with Demacli. My Father’s blessings to your household.”

Elpida again went down on her knees with tears in her eyes, but Jesus help her back up.

“Come! Let us all enter.”

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Sketching HIStory #20

Gen 17, 18 – Covenant of Circumcision
                       Child of Promise

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

ABRAM > ABRAHAM

promise-coin-wAbram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” [Gen 17:1-8]

gen-17-abraham-w.jpg
covenant-coin-w.jpgThen God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

SARAI > SARAH

God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” [Gen 17:9-16]

What about Ishmael? You can read about it HERE.

gen-18-3visitors-w.jpg

The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”

“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.” [Gen 18:1-5]

gen-18-3visitors-2-w.jpg

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”

Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.

“There, in the tent,” he said.

Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” [Gen 18:6-10]

gen-18-3visitors-3-w.jpg

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”

But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.” [Gen 18:10-15]

gen-18-3visitors-4-w.jpg

After the meal, the visitors got up to leave and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. Then, two of them parted ways leaving Abraham with the Lord.

Where are they going? We will find out in our next post.