***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***
I never knew how Satan was going to react to bad news, so I waited as long as possible before mentioning the new star-like object. At the slightest chance an irregularity might resolve itself, I usually saved myself the grief and didn’t tell him.
This time I may have waited too long.
Satan stared at the glowing ball hanging in the vacuous space between the heavens. “How long has it been there?”
“I’m not sure, sir. It appeared suddenly. I watched it for a few days, and when it didn’t disappear, I called for you; that is, as soon as I realized it might be important. But then on the other hand, perhaps it means nothing.”
He leaned over the ledge, looked down, and then back up at the strange new light.
“You should have notified me immediately.”
“My fault entirely, All-Knowing One.”
“I knew you were dumb—always have been. How could you think something like this appearing in my territory without my permission could mean nothing?”
“I meant to say maybe it doesn’t mean anything to you— personally. Perhaps I shouldn’t have bothered you until I was sure.”
“It’s your fault for not telling me sooner if this turns out to be trouble for me.”
He was becoming agitated. I needed to diffuse the situation.
“Oh, you know what it probably is? I should have remembered. Before we were thrown out of heaven, Adonai was always making new stars, but some of them didn’t turn out, and He threw them away. This one is probably a reject. He tossed it here to get it out of
I paused to gauge his reaction. When he didn’t have one, I kept talking.
“Of course, that’s just what it is, nothing but a botched star. I should have figured it out before I interrupted you. A thousand pardons…”
“It’s not a star.”
“You’re right; it’s not.”
“Don’t patronize me.”
“That would be impossible, sir.”
I knew it wasn’t a star, but it shone like one, and I had to call it something. I was about to explain my choice of descriptors when Molech arrived.
“You sent for me, my lord.” Molech bowed his head, as all lesser beings were required to do when addressing Satan.
“Do you see it?” Satan pointed toward the light.
“Yes, it’s been there for weeks. We’ve all been watching it.”
“Weeks?” Satan snarled and looked at me.
“Uh, well, it’s like this, master—” I had to think of something fast, or I would be so found out. It was my job to watch and report anything unusual immediately. For sure a new light source fixed in the sky as if tethered by an invisible wire over a small town on
the earth would, by anyone’s interpretation, fall into the unusual category. The truth was, of late I’d grown lax about monitoring the earth.
Ever since the prophets died off, God seemed to have lost interest and hadn’t said a word to the Jews in four hundred and thirty years. Humanity was not that interesting without God, and I got bored. I hadn’t been watching Earth every day like I should have been. I still checked on it on a somewhat regular basis, but the truth was, I didn’t know where the light came from or how long it had been there. One look at Satan’s scowl and I knew I’d better find something to say in my defense.
“As you know, master,” I continued, “I’m always at my post watching, but my vision isn’t what it used to be. Recently I’ve seen a number of things that weren’t there, and knowing how busy you are, I didn’t want to trouble you with a figment of my poor eyesight and vivid imagination. But as soon as I knew it was real, I notified you right away, O Sovereign One ever to be praised.”
“God is behind this,” Satan said to Molech, ignoring me entirely. “Send scouts; find out what He’s planning. Miss nothing.”
“As you say, my liege.”
Molech spread his leathery wings and was off. Satan watched the light a little longer and then went back to his lair without saying another word to me. I hopped up on my perch to study the light more closely.
What can it be? Have I ever seen anything like this? No. So why does it seem familiar?
As I strained to recollect, a long-dormant memory woke up in the back of my mind and wiggled its way to the front. Goosebumps formed on my tail as it all came back to me.
How could I have forgotten? I was right here on this very perch when I saw it the first time.
It was after we were thrown out of heaven, thousands of years ago when Lucifer ordered me to watch the earth languish in devastation after he and his rebellious angels ravaged it until there was nothing left of the beautiful blue-and-green planet except for the black, swirling waters. I was with them, but it wasn’t my fault, and I wasn’t a rebel. I was a victim of circumstance.
I was standing in the wrong place when the war in heaven broke out, weighing the odds between Lucifer and Michael, trying to make up my mind what to do, as any reasonable person would, given the situation. When I figured out that there was no possibility Lucifer could win, I was just about to walk over to Michael’s side; then suddenly the
war was over, and Lucifer and one-third of the angels were cast to the earth. I got caught in the downdraft and fell with them. Five minutes more and none of this would have happened to me.
The day things changed for the earth I was right here at my post in the second heaven watching the dank waters that covered it. I confess that from time to time the boredom became unbearable, and I would close my eyes and let my mind wander to a happier time when I was still in the third heaven with God. Fortunately for me, I wasn’t wandering that day. I scanned the sea like always, and like always I saw nothing happening—except for one tiny glimmer that appeared in the black water.
“It can’t be light,” I said to myself. “There is no light left anywhere on the earth.” I looked again. “That is definitely a glimmer of light.”
I got a little closer and watched as the luminous ripples grew bigger and spread further until the murkiness of the water began to clear. When I finally figured out what was happening, I wanted to run and hide.
Ruah Ha Kadosh was hovering over the deep. I was a witness when God began the re-creation of the fallen earth.
“There’s something about this star, or whatever it is, that feels like the light I saw in the seas so long ago.” I scratched my head. “But how could it be?”
I continued to watch the glow for several more hours until I heard the beating of wings. Molech was back with a cadre of platoon leaders. They set themselves down on the steps leading into Satan’s throne room. I hurried to catch up and followed them inside.
“What have you learned?” Satan demanded. “Something is happening on the earth, isn’t it?”
“That may be, my lord.” Molech paused and exchanged looks with Tammuz, the demon to his right. “But whatever might be happening on the earth cannot be nearly as important as what has happened in the third heaven.”
“How could you know anything about the third heaven?” I blurted out before I could catch myself. “We have no access there anymore.”
Molech glared at me. “You have no access, but my associate here”—he nodded toward Tammuz—“has, shall we say, sources.”
Tammuz stepped forward and bowed to Satan. “My lord, legions of angels are leaving the third heaven—right now—and are heading to the earth.”
Any news involving the heavenly host always made Satan’s eyes twitch, especially if the word legions was in the same sentence.
“But there’s more.” Molech prodded Tammuz along by poking him on the arm. “Tell him the rest—the part about Adonai.”
Satan’s twitching eyes widened.
“I was coming to that,” Tammuz said. “Adonai is missing.”
“Missing?” Satan squeaked, then cleared his throat. “Do you mean to say they’ve misplaced Him?”
Neither Molech nor Tammuz laughed at the ridiculous nature of Satan’s question, and I certainly didn’t, but only because I clamped my teeth over my tongue.
“He’s gone, master,” Tammuz said.
“Vanished,” Molech added. “He’s left the third heaven.”
“Impossible,” Satan declared. “He never leaves home. Besides, where would He go? You’re mistaken and wasting my time.”
Satan drew back his arm as if he might strike the messengers. Molech and Tammuz cowered and stepped back.
“He’s not there, my lord,” Tammuz said. “My sources looked everywhere. He’s gone. The rank-and-file angels are as perplexed as we are.”
Satan lifted an eyebrow.
“There was one witness to something strange.” Tammuz chose his words carefully. “Someone saw the host lined up in front of the throne room, facing each other with their swords drawn and crossed.”
“And?” Satan waved his claw hand in circles, urging Tammuz to say whatever he was trying not to say.
“And the witness saw Adonai come out of the throne room, walk under the crossed swords, and leave. No one has seen Him since.”
“It’s a trick.” Satan walked across the floor and kicked over a footstool, then turned back to Molech. “Where could He have gone?”
“The angels don’t know, sire, not even the elite guard. They are as mystified as you—I mean us; of course you are never mystified.”
Suddenly the door flew open as Baal, Satan’s highest-ranking demon god, barged into the room without being announced. He was breathing so hard we could barely understand him.
“You’ve got to come now, master—to the rim. We’re about to be overrun by them. Hurry!”
“Overrun by what? Whom?” I asked.
“Are we being invaded?” Satan demanded.
“You must come and see for yourself.”
Wasting no more time, Satan raced with Baal to the edge of the second heaven with the rest of us right behind them. We lined up along the perimeter, where we had a clear view of the earth and all that lay in between it and us. Baal hadn’t exaggerated. Tens of thousands of high-ranking angels were gathering above the earth’s blue sky.
“What are they doing?” Satan asked.
I didn’t realize he was talking to me until he slapped me and demanded an answer.
“I, uh, well, I’m not sure, sir, but it doesn’t look like they’re coming here. It looks like they may be about to penetrate the veil between heaven and the earth and reveal themselves to that group of shepherds down there in the fields.”
“Nonsense. The heavenly host wouldn’t waste their time on gypsies. Besides, I’m sure it would be an illegal military maneuver.”
He was about to huff off when Baal tugged on his sleeve.
“Moron may be right.” He was referring to me. “Look at how the shepherds are scattering. They definitely see the angels.”
We watched as some of the shepherds ran away in fear, while others trembled and fell to their knees. But let me tell you, the trembling ones weren’t by themselves. There were no heroes in the demon horde that day either. We didn’t know why the angels had gathered,
but if it had anything to do with us, we knew we were outmanned by two to one. The chatter among the demons began.
“Why are the angels out there?”
“Is there going to be a fight?”
“Look, they’re closing ranks!”
“Ask Satan what we should do.”
Satan grabbed me by my wing.
“Find out what this means,” he ordered as he pushed me nearer the rim. “Get closer.” Then he pushed me off the edge.
I flapped as hard as I could to keep from falling. I was afraid of what the angels might do if they noticed me, but I knew what Satan would do if I didn’t obey, so I carefully fluttered a little farther out over the abyss where I could see them better. As I got closer, I realized the angels weren’t wearing their combat gear; there was not a sword in sight. They were lining up in choir formation.
“Are they going to attack?” Satan yelled out at me.
“No, sir, I believe they’re going to sing.”
“What?” Satan asked in disbelief as he flew to my side to see for himself.
And sing they did. The angelic royalty of heaven went near the earth and sang a song to fewer than a dozen cowering shepherds.
“Fear not, for behold we bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For born unto you tonight in the city of David is the Messiah, the Lord who will bring salvation to all mankind. Go, and you will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”
The angels’ voices were so loud we covered our ears to muffle the sounds as they continued.
“Glory to God in the highest and on the earth, peace and goodwill toward men.”
I was terrified like all the rest but so excited by what the angels sang I could barely contain myself. I followed Satan back to the rim and tried to appear as disturbed as the rest of the demons, but inside I was bursting with hope. How long I had waited for Him—the one promised to David so many generations ago. Oh, yes, He was the hope of the Jews, but He was my hope as well, my only hope.
The veil between heaven and the earth closed, and the angels were no longer visible to the shepherds or to us; still, no one moved from his place. It was almost as if an invisible force held us there. We seemed hypnotized by the light that still hung over the blackness of the great abyss.
“What was that all about?” asked one of the demons.
“Maybe Satan knows.”
“Yes, Satan must know.”
But Satan didn’t know. When he heard the chattering among the demons, he whispered to me out of the side of his mouth.
“Do you think it’s over? Should we move on?”
“Can you move, sir?”
He grimaced as he tried to lift a hoof. I pretended not to be looking.
“Maybe we should wait a bit longer,” I said.
I didn’t know what was coming, but the tingling scales on the back of my neck told me something else was about to happen. At once another blinding light appeared and hovered over the abyss right in front of Satan. I knew him immediately. It was Gabriel, the essenger angel of the most high God. All the demons took one step back. Except for me.
“Gabriel! Hello.” I stepped forward and waved.
Satan stepped on my tail and jerked my wing. “Stay still and shut up!”
“Sorry, sir.” I slunk back.
“Lucifer, fallen son of the light.” Gabriel’s voice was like thunder.
“What do you want?” Satan tried to appear annoyed, but his swishing tail said he was nervous. “You’re in my territory.”
“I bring you a message from I AM, one that will be good news to all mankind.”
“Then why are you telling me?”
“Guess what it means for you.”
Every demon took another step back.
“Wha–what is it?” Satan stammered.
The angel’s eyes narrowed as he answered.