Continued from Part One: Lost But Not Forgotten
“It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder [Elohim1]] didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah…” (From God’s Word the Bible, Ephesians 2:1-6, The Message.)
 God = Hebrew for God, indicating God is three persons in one – the Trinity.
A Refreshing Start
The sun's golden rays spread out through that lush green valley, highlighting the colorful hues of the blossoming plants and flowers. A babbling brook running its cool water swiftly through feeds the Garden with its life-sustaining nutrients.
There in that Garden Jessi stands, simply awed by the beauty and splendor surrounding her. She herself is radiant, adorned as a bride, waiting for her groom. Her blonde hair flowing down around her shoulders framing her pretty face, adorned by her adorable blue eyes and marvelous dimples, splendidly enhanced by her brilliant smile.
The sight was breathtaking, to say the least. That babbling brook, clear as crystal, rushes along in its bed, good enough to drink. Stooping down, Jessi does just that, scooping up a swallow in the palm of her hand. "Um-m, that's good," she said. "Cool and sweet.” Sweetness, unlike anything she had ever tasted before.
Relaxing on the brook's grassy bank, she scans the beauty surrounding her. All of a sudden she gapes, before her a familiar sight appears.
“What?” she can’t believe her eyes, before her there appears, unmistakably, Grammy O’Brien’s wingback chair, and that ottoman on which she and her friend Timothy perched themselves many times when children, readying for one of Grammy’s Bible reading times to them. Blinking, making sure she is seeing correctly, eyes wide open, in that chair appears Grammy herself—that worn, well-read Bible on her lap.
Jessi rises to her feet in that grassy Garden, gaping ever more so, as before her Timothy and herself as children appear on that ottoman. She starts to run toward it, but she is stopped in her tracks, feeling the grip of a hand upon her shoulder.
“No, Jessi,” a Being in radiant white apparel appears before her. “You cannot get closer,” he continues soft and gentle. “You can only view the scene from where you’re sitting. Listen, and take to heart what you see and hear. You watch now, above that fireplace mantle in front of which you see Grammy and yourself and Timothy sitting.”
Peering with attentive ears and eyes, Jessi seats herself again on the grassy slope. Grammy begins reading from her Bible, as Jessi remembers from her childhood: “In the beginning God,” Grammy reads, paraphrasing and amplifying as she had often heard Grammy do, “The Almighty Three-in-One, Immortal, All-knowing, All-powerful, Everywhere present, and Personal God, created the heavens and the earth...”
A Strange Phenomenon
Then, as the Being suggested, she gazed above that fireplace mantle: Peering into the far reaches of nothingness a strange phenomenon appears. A large mass of water flowed into the darkness of space. Then voices were heard. How many? Jessi listens discerningly: Two, at least, but then, yet another is heard. Uh, there are three voices, she recognized. “Ah,” she perceives, “They’re in perfect harmony and agreement with one another. “How awesome,” she whispers, “It’s Elohim, just as Grammy is reading to me and Timothy—the Almighty Three-in-One Creator. But how can it be? I am here.” In quiet, she bows her head.
“Let there be,” the voice spoke. Jessi looks up, viewing again the screen above that fireplace mantle. The universe and all the starry hosts appeared, through the darkness. Light appears, and Jessi hears the voice proclaim, “It is good,” calling the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.” Swish, the light moved from one end of the darkness to the other. “Morning and evening,” the voice proclaimed, ”day one.”
The voice spoke again, as Jessi heard those now familiar words, “Let there be…” Space appeared, calling it “sky”, separating the water. The light moved again—morning and evening—completing day two.
Jessi sat awed witnessing the scene, as Grammy read. God’s marvelous creative work being called into being—one day at a time. “Ooh,” Jessi gasped, those spectacular events as she has read, and Grammy reading to her, happening before her very eyes.
The water under the sky gathered in one place, as commanded by the voice.
Then Elohim commanded and the dry ground appeared, “Land,” as He called it. The gathered water, He called, “Seas, streams, oceans, rivers, and the like.”
The Almighty Three-in-one Creator looked upon it all, and called it, “good.’
But it was not yet completed. Grammy continued reading; Jessi viewing it all and listening, “Let there be,” the voice spoke. All kinds of vegetation sprouted forth – plants and trees, bearing fruit and vegetables of every kind—bananas, apples, pears, broccoli, spinach, carrots… Yet again the light moved—morning and evening—day three.
Then appeared lights in the sky at God’s command, as Jessi observed, the sun and moon, separating day from night, and marking the seasons, days and years. The stars appeared also.
Oh, how magnificent is Elohim – awesome, Jessi contemplated, as she observed the light move again from one end of the darkness to the other—morning and evening— completing day four.
Grammy continued reading, and Jessi heard Elohim speak again, and the waters splashing with living sea creatures; birds flying in the sky, chirping all around; all creatures great and small—winged and finned.
The Almighty Three-in-One Creator looked upon it all, and proclaimed, “This is all so good.” Again, there was morning and evening, completing the fifth day.
The Making of Humans
Jessi listening intently, observing as Elohim looking upon the earth, ordering, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds.” And so it did—livestock and wild animals of every kind: lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my—moving along the ground, freely in herds, prides, packs, and groups. God commanded them, “Be fruitful and increase in number” according to their kind. Looking over it all, God saw that it was all so good. Then, He paused.
“Hmm,” Jessi, too, then rose to her feet, observing the quiet of Elohim. The Almighty Three-in-One Creator contemplating something even more marvelous, Jessi assumed. “Be still, and know that I am Elohim!” a voice whispered in her ear.
She bowed, waiting. Then she heard Elohim speak, “Let us make humans.” She suddenly looked up above that fireplace mantle—above the wingback chair where Grammy was sitting, Jessi viewing through her sparkling wide-open blue eyes. Elohim begins sculpting a body from the dust of the ground.
Finished, and satisfied with His masterpiece, He then breathed into it His own breath; the sculptured body came to life.
Awed, Jessi listened as Grammy explained to her and Timothy, they sitting upon that ottoman: “Immortality, my children, being unable to thrive in a physical world, that dust-woven body as their earth suit, housing that soul which Elohim breathed into that male man, made in Elohim’s own image.”
“Yet, Elohim was not altogether satisfied,” Grammy read.
”It is not good for this male man to be alone,” Elohim said, as that male man fell asleep at Elohim’s command. Removing from him a rib, Elohim then—sculptured for the man a partner, like him but different, as Jessi observed—a female man—a woman.
Bringing her to that male man, Elohim commanded them, “Be fruitful and produce other humans, after your kind, to roam about the earth.”
United, the man, and the woman became as one. There in that blossoming Garden, like where Jessi is now standing, the cradle of civilization, Elohim placed His human creatures. “This is your responsibility,” Elohim instructed them, “Care for it, giving it your utmost attention. You may eat the fruit from every seed-bearing plant.”
Elohim then looked upon all He had made proclaiming it “very good.” Once more, the light moved from one end of the darkness to the other—morning and evening—day six.
Elohim’s creative work was finished, as Jessi observed, viewing it all above that fireplace mantle; above were in front of the fireplace her Grammy, herself, and her friend Timothy was sitting.
The next day Elohim rested. Jessi, too, paused for a moment, relaxing on that grassy slope, as the scene above that fireplace mantle also closed; she then scanned all around her that beautiful Garden.
Then Jessi noticed, as the Being in white apparel spoke. “Do you see those two largest trees there, Jessi, in the middle of the Garden,” he pointed.
“Oh yes,” Jessi answered. “Wow, how can I miss it, they’re bigger than Sequoias and giant Redwoods. And look at all the luscious fruit they’re bearing.”
“See that one on the right,” the Being said. It is a tree of life-producing nutrients. And do you recognize the other tree?”
“Um,” Jessi thought a moment. “Not exactly,” she then answered.
“That’s the knowledge tree, everything you would ever want to know, both good and evil. But I mention it to you only as a warning, Jessi, as I’m sure you know.”
“Oh, exactly, just as I have read in Elohim’s Word,” Jessi said. “And I’m not to eat from that tree.
“Yes,” the Being continued, “that’s correct. And you know about that Knowledge Tree.”
Assured, “Sure do,” Jessi nodded.
“Elohim forbade His first human creatures to eat from that tree. But every other tree they may eat from – all they want.”
“As eating from that knowledge tree would spell certain doom,” Jessi said.
“Again, correct,” the Being continued, “Causing a great divide, separating all of mankind from the purposeful life God had planned for them.”
“Ah,” Jessi gasped. “How could anyone want to cause doom to this beautiful place?” Jessi said, scanning almost breathless that Garden – the finished work of God’s design.
How majestic, as she observed, the mountains stretching their heights to the heavens, and above the clouds. How awesome, as she took it all in—the splendor of God’s work “showing off” the magnificence of His majesty.
All the trees, too, appear to be lifting up their branches in praise to their Creator for bringing them all into being—birds, too, chirping out songs of praise and honor to the One who made their existence possible. Much akin, as Jessi realized, to the joy she senses when among Elohim’s people in worship and praise to Him who brought the human race into being at His spoken command.
Resting on that grassy slope, sipping more of that cool, sweet water, Jessi beamed, "It's good for me to be here," she said. "I could stay here forever."
A Friendship Renewed
Just then, as out of nowhere, another knelt down beside her and scooped up some of that sweet water from the stream. Turning, she gasped, “Thomas John?”
“Take a closer look, Jessi,” he said.
“Timothy!” Jessi exclaimed. The two-forever friends embraced. Rising to their feet, the two walked hand and hand through that Garden, they together viewing the beauty of it all.
“How lovely it is for me to be with you again, Jessi,” Timothy said.
“Yes, me too,” Jessi responded. “Let’s be here together forever.”
But Timothy nodded with a negative, “We cannot,” he said, “Only for a little while can I be with you.”
“But why not forever?” Jessi inquired, “This place is so beautiful, unlike anything I had ever seen before.”
Just then that Being in shining white apparel appeared before them both.
“Let’s hear him,” Timothy said, pointing.
In that soft and calm voice the Being spoke, “The beauty of this Garden won’t last Jessi. Recall those first human creatures made in Elohim’s image?”
“Remember as Grammy read to you from Elohim’s Word to you and your friend Timothy?” the Being continued.
“Of course,” Jessi answered, turning toward Timothy.
“They chose to disobey God, being so deceived by the evil one and partook of that forbidden tree. As a result, Elohim put them out of the Garden. And they cannot re-enter it. I’m of those put here to guard the way of that tree of life,” the Being said, pointing to that tree of life-sustaining nutrients, “and to keep those humans, and all humans – as yourself and Timothy—from entering back into the Garden. They can’t partake of that tree now.”
Timothy grasped Jessi’s hand.
“If they should be permitted to do so,” the Being continued, “They will know of good and evil forever."
Hm-m, Jessi reflected.
"And you two must leave as well—walk out of here together. Even as we're talking this Garden is beginning to deteriorate and rot," The Being pointed to the ground.
Jessi and Timothy looked down. Startled, before their very eyes, the green grass under their feet withered and discolored, the earth, too, drying out and cracking. "Wow!” Jessi exclaimed. “Well,” she continued after a brief pause, looking about, “if we then must leave, where is the way out?"
Two Streams in the Garden
"Follow that brook,” the Being answered, pointing toward a stream of water. “It's flowing to the entrance of the Garden, where it will divide into two streams. You'll see one stream a yellow color, the other, red. You must follow that red stream. As the two streams flow out of the Garden, you will observe them hardening as bricks, becoming two roads running parallel to one another, as two different worlds, as indeed they are.
And this is also what you will notice,” hand in hand, they listened as the Being explained: “The yellow brick road, paved with all kinds of fear, depression, doubts, lust, pride, self-centeredness, and the 'I-did-it-my-way mentality, displays the works of mankind – wood, hay, stubble—and the false promises and hopes from the evil one.
“The red brick road, on the other hand, displays the works of God and His provision for a life of abundance and eternal bliss, the real life as God intended it to be. Follow the red brick road. Even though it will be narrower than the yellow, it is the way to go.
“And go with this warning, Jessi, Timothy,” the Being spoke, “the yellow brick road will try to distract you and pull you over, but you must fight off its alluring snares. But don't fear, you will be guarded and protected all the way. In the sky above and ahead of you, you will see a bright eight-pointed star. It is your guide, too, to stir you straight. And as you two walk on, I’ll be with you, as well,” the Being assured. “You may not see me all the time, but I’ll be right here walking with you, every step of the way, ready to assist you in any way you need me. Those following the yellow brick road do not have such a guide, only their own whimsical fantasies—the deceitful ways of the evil one.”
Curious, Jessi asked, “But where will we go; 'all the way' to where?”
"Here, you are at the beginning of time, Jessi. You must return to your present. God still has a work for you there. As the King in your dream proclaimed: 'As the Father has sent me....’ Remember? Now go," the Being concluded.
“But what about Timothy?” Jessi asked.
“He will go with you as far as he can,” the Being said, “Then he will depart once again for a while. This is his present. Yours is in time for now, for the work God has for you there.”
Timothy, grasping her hand, acknowledged his continued prayer for her with a smile.
One last look around at that once beautiful paradise, now falling apart – now lost – Jessi then began her journey back to her present, following that brook, Timothy walking with her. She turned for a moment to look back at that fast decaying beautiful Garden. She sighed, turning toward Timothy. But then they both looked straight ahead toward their goal, the entrance of that Garden.
Arriving at the entrance of the Garden, Jessi gasped, turning toward her friend. “Timothy, what is that?” They both eyed with curiosity a large stone gate comes into view, in the center of which, at its top, a sword aglow with a flame of fire fixed, turning about. Many other Beings, as the one who met them in the Garden, were there at the entrance as well along with the first Being in shining white apparel. He then spoke, motioning to both of them, “Come along now you two, with haste,” the Being said, “You must leave.”
Quickening their pace, they exited through that stone gate. Yet, turning about, they took one more glance at where they came from. Surprised, at the blink of an eye, that gate and all that was there vanished—faded from the scene. “Oh, wow,” Jessi said to Timothy, “That’s creepy. Where has it all gone?”
“That’s not for you to know,” the Being said, “Yours now is to look straight ahead, and with fervent care follow that straight yet narrow red brick road.
Turning again toward the Being, they then saw that stream dividing into two, as the Being had said, forming yellow and red waterways.
Then the streams hardened as bricks, each becoming its respective road. Jessi and Timothy then stepped out on the red brick road as that Being had instructed. Traveling down that road together, Jessi journeying back to her present, they soon discovered, that red brick road seemed to be the one less traveled by. Adventuring together once again, memorable of Grammy’s Bible readings to them, yet unaware of all they would encounter along that way.
“But,” Timothy said, “I won’t be able to go with you all the way, Jessi, as the Being had said. There will come a time when I’ll depart your visual presence. Nevertheless, I’ll continue with you in spirit.”
Or begin again at Premier Episode: Preface and Prologue
© 2018 Charles O Newcombe