Prologue to my novel

Enoch, a righteous man, whose eyes were opened by God, saw the vision of the Holy One in the heavens, which the angels showed me, and from them I heard everything.

~ The Book of Enoch 1:2

 4000 Years Ago

“Behold!” the archangel Gabriel boomed, ushering Enoch into the throne room of Heaven. There, amid flashes of lightning and fire, Enoch saw God seated on His holy throne. A huge rainbow encircled the throne. “I am overwhelmed,” Enoch sputtered, his knees buckling. “I did not partake of breakfast this morning.”

Gabriel, the tall, 36-cubit-high archangel gently lifted Enoch up so he could survey the scene. “Fear not! God willed you to see!” thundered Gabriel in a deep voice, like the sound of raging waters. My son, Methusela, will never believe this, Enoch mused to himself.

“This vision takes place many years in the future; it is not for your generation, Enoch, but for a remote one which is to come,” announced the angel. “Behold the other archangels: Michael, Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Sariel, and Remiel.”

“Greetings,” whispered Enoch as he waved weakly to the other archangels. He wondered if asking for their autographs would be gauche, but before he could get the invitation out of his mouth, Gabriel was speaking in that bone-rattling voice of his. “Behold, above the throne, the four hovering creatures. Your mind may not be able to comprehend these presences, but they are the cherubim.”

“I can hear their voices, and see their four wings, but their faces appear to me as having four features,” said Enoch. “When I look at one cherub’s head, I see one side of it looks like a man’s face, another side seems to have a lion’s countenance, the third side looks like an eagle’s head, and the fourth side appears to be the muzzle and eyes of an ox. Is that weird?” inquired Enoch, trembling in his robe and sandals.

“The faces appear to you as symbols you recognize,” Gabriel explained in his deep, waterfall-like voice. “The man represents part of the cherub’s character. It is a symbol of intelligence. The lion points to each cherub’s power. The eagle signifies the swiftness of these angels who move in flashes of lightning. And the ox exemplifies their service to man.”

“I see. And do they have eyes all around their heads?” asked Enoch. “Because it appears to me so. And it sort of creeps me out.”

“Yes,” answered Gabriel. “To see all. With their flaming swords they fight your spiritual battles for you, against the demons. Your flesh is so weak, you people could never prevail against Azazel—the Evil One—by yourselves. He is also a cherub. These holy cherubim fight for you when you ask it of them, or when God directs them to do so.”

“I’m grateful,” Enoch said with a bow. “We people need all the help you can give us from heaven. We are so wretched and so many of us turn to evil. Some of us even play backgammon.” With that Enoch shuddered in horror.

“These cherubim will fight for Job, thousands of years from now, when he is the prize in a great wager between God and Azazel. And these same cherubim will fight for a descendant of yours—Rodney Simpleson—when he is caught up many thousands of years later in another epic battle between God and The Evil One.”

“My descendant? Caught up in a spiritual war of good against evil? How astounding. Does Rodney, well, does he stay faithful to God the way Job does? Or does he give in and have to be saved? Because I have to tell you, some of my kids are real pushovers.”

“It is not for me to spoil the ending. But you should know that Rodney will live under a new covenant. When the Messiah comes, He will abolish the covenant of the law and establish a new covenant of grace. Rodney will not succeed by relying on good behavior or good works, he will only prevail if he can fully rely on God’s grace. You shall watch the spiritual battle unfold from your mansion here in heaven—after you die,” added the angel.

“Oh, I see. Well thank you for not ruining it for me, I guess. How do you know all of this, by the way?”

“God instructed me to tell you.”

“So angels cannot see the future?”

“No. Look now to the angels flying above you: the seraphim.” Gabriel continued with his heavenly tutorial. With their six wings they fly to and fro the earth, ensuring all is well.”

“I can see them!” exclaimed Enoch. “Their wings are so beautiful! Sometimes they move in unison and sometimes they don’t. It’s amazing. But I’m a little disconcerted by these white-robed men on the floor. Did one of them drop a coin?”

“They are the throne angels. Their duty—their privilege—is to worship God day and night.”

“Is that a job? I would like to have that job,” Enoch prodded. Archangel Gabriel dismissed the inquiry with: “Humans don’t do angels’ jobs. Humans don’t become angels when they die. You have been created for a different task. Your job is to find out what that special task is which God has determined for you.” With that the angel took Enoch’s hand and flew him out of the throne room, along golden streets so that he could see the city of heaven. A crystal wall surrounded the city. Into the wall were built gates made of different gemstones. “Do you behold those wingless angels polishing the emerald gates?” demanded Gabriel. “Yes, I see them” answered Enoch. “They are the authority angels. They grease the wheels of Heaven so that all runs smoothly and functions perfectly, as God intended. Let us go down to the ladders so you can see how the dominion angels reach the earth.”

“I have to go to the bathroom,” Enoch admitted with a cringe. “Hmmm,” answered Gabriel as he flew Enoch past gates of jasper and gates made of pearl, through a neighborhood of large golden houses. “I must remind you that you are seeing a beautiful vision, many generations into your future. You should have no need of a bathroom.”

“Oh, but I do,” answered Enoch.

“Very well.” They pulled up at one of the mansions and knocked on its door made of platinum with a ruby for a window. A bearded man in a robe opened it. “Greetings, Noah!” shouted Gabriel in his terrifying voice. “One of your ancestors requires a favor.” A few minutes later, a relieved-looking Enoch trotted out of the stately house and took up Gabriel’s hand. Together they flew to the edge of the city of heaven.

“Clear for descent!” shouted Carson, a white-robed angel as he waved a red flag over a wooden ladder descending down very, very far through the starry edges of Heaven toward the earth. He worked alongside other angels wearing similar long, white, linen robes, each in front of his own ladder.

Gabriel continued his instruction to Enoch: “Behold Carson, an authority angel. He helps the dominion angels travel to and fro the earth. Dominion angels are the guardians of the people. They keep believers from harm’s way and protect them from the influence of demons. They encourage God’s holy people to obey and keep His commands. They protect and serve the children of God.”

“That relieves the burning in my heart, much in the same way that milk of magnesia does” Enoch said to Gabriel, watching the authority angels helping the dominion angels up and down the long row of ladders.

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