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Evil Ascendant - Deliverance

  The colossal glass cathedral stood in stark contrast to the surrounding architecture in the capital’s old quarter. Its modern glass structure rose more than sixty feet high with a forest of pointed spires that jutted upward like flames from a star.

     Inside, a vast audience wrapped around a large stage surrounded by the auditorium’s seating on three sides. The large forum was filled with thousands of awestruck worshipers.

     Unbeknownst to them, the air above them contained an untold number of sinister, shadowy figures — they eyed the crowds beneath them like hungry predators in a restless dance.

     I had witnessed the ominous scene once before, in a foreshadowing of these events. Now Chozeq and I were watching them together, unseen by the crowds and shadowy figures around us.

     At the front of the auditorium, I recognized the cathedral’s strange wall of religious symbols atop the central platform, rising like a great tower of Babel, thirty or forty feet high.

* * *

     At its foundation were the quotes:

“Nothing is, but you are… there is nothing other than your Self.

“The less you know, the closer to being truth-realized you become.

“All states of mind are a delusion — transcend them all.” - Zen.

* * *

     Further up, the quotes became more ideological…

“The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.” - Mao Zedong.

“One must be a revolutionary, not a reformist.” - Joseph Stalin.

* * *

     Finally, the quotes became less obscure and more terrifying…

“When everything under heaven is in utter chaos, the situation is excellent.” - Mao Zedong.

“Death is the solution to all problems.” - Joseph Stalin.

* * *

     Scattered upon the tower’s heights at different levels were statues of ancient  Hindu deities, Egyptian gods, and occult symbols. A giant statue of Buddha was prominently displayed near the center. Above that was a large 3D Peace Symbol formed from a broken cross turned upside-down, and above that a golden Qubba — the Islamic Vault of Heaven. At the tower’s peak is the goddess Anath of the Phoenicians, the ancient Canaan goddess of love and war… sister to the god Baal.

     I recognized Athaliah among a group of religious dignitaries seated across the stage. They were dressed in the ceremonial robes of the world’s major religions — absent any representation of Christian or Jewish forms. They all rose to their feet as Athaliah walked to the podium with her hands raised.

     The dignitaries behind her raised their hands in unison, symbolizing their union — united in a rite of worship from which God was conspicuously absent.

    A large cadre of reporters and TV camera crews were gathered in front of the stage. Athaliah focused her attention on the cameras as she spoke in flowery words that masked the deadly venom within them.

     “Today, we dedicate this beautiful temple to the people of America. The gorgeous structure you see around you was built by my father as a gift to all of the people of this great nation. It is a cathedral, not of division and exclusion, but unity. Today, we unify all religions in the single essence of inspiration they embody. Together they reflect the human spirit — a spirit that reaches and aspires to attain the greatest longing of our hearts. Peace… acceptance… and the freedom to be what we choose to be.”

     She raised her arms high as she lifted her voice in a near-shout. “Today, we dedicate this hallowed place as the National Temple of Human Enlightenment!”

     The crowds erupted in wild cheering — so loud that it drowned out any further attempts to speak. Athaliah waved to the crowd triumphantly and then turned to the other religious leaders behind her and bowed. They bowed towards her in return and then turned to congratulate one another.

     While the loud celebration continued, a large contingent of ‘ushers’ wearing holstered handguns suddenly gathered around the reporters and directed them toward the doors. With the temple dedication’s public relations formalities out of the way, there was no longer a need for members of the Press. They were ushered away from the building as an even larger group of armed guards outside formed a barrier to prevent any re-entry.

     Inside the temple, anticipation was building as the driving beat of loud music hinted at the events to come. The adoring crowds quickly filled the area where the Press Corps had been standing, gathering in a large mob that pressed against the stage and wrapped around it. Invisible dark masses and leather winged creatures in the air above them grew more excited, moving impatiently in expectation.

     Suddenly, the crowd became eerily quiet as the music abruptly stopped, and the auditorium lights dimmed. Spotlights shined on Athaliah, now alone on the stage in a dramatic stance, with her eyes closed and arms outstretched to her sides — her head was tilted back as if basking in sunlight. However, it was not light that she basked in, but darkness.

     Her eyes suddenly opened, briefly flashing yellow and catlike before turning completely black. All of those around her bowed low with their hands raised as Athaliah turned toward the tower and reached for it with both hands, her fingers spreading wide. As she drew her hands apart, a large central section of the tower structure — the section that contained the peace symbol made from a broken, upside-down cross — seemed to melt away. Behind it was revealed a giant golden statue of a man-like creature with the head of a bull. It was seated on a golden throne and held in its arms an infant child made of gold. It filled the center of the tower prominently as bright lights were directed toward it, reflecting in golden beams onto the audience. A chill ran through me as I recognized the image — it was Ba’al, the ancient Phoenician-Canaan god of eroticism, war, rain, and thunder. The god of infant human sacrifice.

   As the entire audience dropped to their knees, Athaliah’s voice cried out over the throng.

“Great Ba’al-Melqart, the ancient lord of the earth, ruler of the gods.

“You are Ba’al Qarnaim, Lord of the Two Horns, who rules with thunder.

“Lo, it is the time of his reign!

“The season of the great Baal!

“Whose voice speaks in thunder from the clouds.

“He flashes lightning to the earth.

“We call you now to rain upon the earth with the mighty rain of your power. Send upon us your indwelling energy.

“Take us now to be your loyal servants — we empty ourselves and invite you to fill us!”

  

     While she was still speaking, I watched the sinister, shadowy figures in the air above descend upon the crowd. They swarmed like sharks devouring minnows in a frenzy of cries and smoky mist until thousands of kneeling worshipers suddenly reared upward as their heads snapped back, and they peered at Baal’s image with the red snake-like eyes of their new demonic masters.

     Athaliah looked out over the crowd — her own yellow catlike eyes were revealed as she surveyed the scene. A sly smile curled the edges of her mouth with a look of sinister cruelty as she welcomed her newly enslaved minions. Standing beside her was Devlon — his own eyes glowing red as the pendant of Molech glowed brightly on his chest.

     They turned to welcome a familiar figure, who appeared vibrant and infused with mysterious power. He was dressed in a golden robe that flowed to his feet and wore on his head a golden-horned crown. His eyes glowed with the appearance of fire. It was her father… Bahal. The consul of Ba’al.

 

     The surrounding crowds fell on their faces before the tower’s golden image. A chant rose from among them, growing louder and louder as it was repeated again and again….

 

“Great is Ba’al-Melqart - lord of the earth!”

 

     The temple cries continued for some time as Bahal, and the others stood soaking in the crowd’s adoration. Devlon and Athaliah stood beside him as he placed his hands on their shoulders and nodded approvingly. The three of them stood god-like above the worshiping crowds, an unholy trinity.

 

     The reporters heard the rumbling of the loud chants but could not decipher the words from outside, while the small army of guards kept them at bay. 

* * *

     It was after sundown when the crowds began to emerge from the cathedral. A light rain was falling, and reporters stood under a tent of black umbrellas.

     Many of the religious leaders who had been on the platform proudly agreed to be interviewed by the waiting news teams. They spoke of a dawn of world unity and praised Bahal for gifting the nation with such a beautiful cathedral.

     A great commotion swept the crowd outside when Athaliah finally emerged, accompanying her husband and father. Secret Service agents held large umbrellas above the trio’s heads as they made their way into the open and paused at the landing above a flight of steps. News teams and cameras quickly gathered below them and were held back by agents in a wide arc. Questions were shouted to them from a distance while scores of microphones were aimed upward as far as their bearers’ arms could stretch.

     “President Sheen… You have spoken a great deal about the importance of separating religion from government and even from public life. Do you support your wife and father-in-law in the dedication of this new cathedral?”

     “Yes, of course! It is a great and generous act on the part of Athaliah’s esteemed father. A gift to our entire nation. Religion in and of itself is not objectionable. Only when it is pursued discordantly and with prejudice does it become a great cause of suffering in the world.”

     Another reporter shouted to him… “Christianity and Judaism are notably absent from the religions included in today’s ceremony. Why is that?”

     Athaliah quickly answered for Devlon while he nodded to her gratefully. “They were invited, of course, but unfortunately declined to join us. It is, sadly, a tribute to how divisive those particular faiths have been throughout history. They are responsible for so much of the world’s conflict and intolerance.”

     Several reporters began to challenge that remark but were interrupted by someone who quickly shouted from the crowd, changing the subject. “Are you going to introduce your father?”

     Athaliah beamed and welcomed Bahal to her side. “This is my father, Bahal Ebezej, the generous benefactor who is responsible for this great cathedral.”

     “Mr. Ebezej… What made you want to donate something so magnificent? This must have cost you a great fortune.”

     Bahal stepped forward, clearly relishing the fawning attention. “It is my honor to give back to this country a small part of what it has given me. America is on the verge of a great achievement under President Sheen — the unifying of all religions and soon the unity of all nations under a common purpose. For the good of all people.”

     Devlon thanked his father-in-law with a grateful bow of his head and then spoke to the crowd of reporters — continuing the theme. “Unity, as you know, has been the theme of my Administration and will continue to be the goal that I strive for. For far too long, the world has been held hostage by those who hide behind religious and moral doctrines to oppress and control others.

     “I promise you here today that their God will have no place in my government or in the United States of America. This is the land of ‘We the People.’ A nation that does not bow down to any power except the power of our own will. We will choose to build our own future — a future without the crippling oversight of an overbearing God.  We are determined to shake off His hold on us, and we reject his sovereignty in our affairs.

     “Beginning today, we are not ‘One nation under God,’ we are a nation free of God! We are: ‘We the People!’ and we make our own choices. We, and we alone will govern ourselves!”

     The surrounding crowds broke into wild cheers, drowning out any further questions.

 

* * *

     Chozeq and I watched the scene from our vantage point in the air above, invisible to the throngs of demonic hosts who still hovered above and around us. I was not surprised by Devlon’s shocking remarks but felt great despair, nonetheless. His act of defiance was leading the nation into a great and terrible darkness.

     As I was watching, I suddenly heard the Lord’s voice. Not in a still, small whisper, but loudly — He spoke in a powerful tone that shook my very soul.

 

You are my witness to this defiant generation. Speak the words I give you boldly and without fear. No harm can touch you….

 

     He had no sooner spoken than I found myself instantly transported into their midst, appearing in a brilliant flash of light that nearly blinded those around me. I stood atop the stairs a short distance from Devlon and the others, in front of the reporters and cameras. Chozeq was standing at my right hand, and Ardent stood at my left, with swords drawn in my defense.

     I quickly discerned that Bahal and the demon-filled hosts could see Chozeq and Ardent clearly, but the reporters and secret service agents could not. My angelic protectors were a powerful deterrence against any thought of attack that might have entered the enemy’s mind.

     Those standing all around stood paralyzed in stunned amazement at my sudden appearance, including the armed guards who seemed unable to move, even though they surrounded the area where we were all standing. Words filled my thoughts, and I used the advantage of surprise to capture their attention. I turned to Devlon and the others, surprised at how loudly my voice seemed to thunder when I spoke to them. I shouted as loudly as I could….

“The God you have rejected has sent me with a message for you and the nation.

 

“Since you have rejected Him, He has also rejected you. Beginning tonight, your government will cease to abide under His wings and is no longer kept under His holy protection.  The hearts of citizens will be divided against one another and will not submit to your authority. Nor will your people hold brotherly affection and love for one another. Since you have corrupted justice and rejected mercy, He will likewise show no mercy upon your nation.

 

“As you have chosen for today to be the day of rejection, so will today be the beginning of His judgment upon you. From this night forward, no rain will fall on any possession of your land, so you will know that there is a God in Heaven.

 

“Everyone who is listening, hear this! God’s heart is not turned against you for evil but to turn you back from your defiance. Remember, on the day that you turn back to Him, he will accept you, as a loving father welcomes his child. Then He will open the Heavens and refresh your land and will have mercy upon your nation and heal your hearts.

 

“Tonight, God has spoken to you.”

 

     The light steady rain that had been falling stopped suddenly, and a dry breeze swept over the crowd.

Then, with a flash as bright and sudden as before, I was gone from there.

 

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Chapter One
Evil Ascendant

“That’s when all Hell breaks loose.”
~ Amos