ALIVE: Chapter 41 The New Flood

Once upon a time, about four hundred years after Abraham had first fallen asleep in Sheol, and that dark place was brimming with sleeping-dead captives, upon the face of the living earth one of Abraham's great grandsons, John the Baptist, appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey.

Perambula looked on in awe. "What is going on here Lord? Look at all of these people enter the river as if they want to drown. Have they all gone mad?"

God smiled and replied, "I am renewing world again, but in a quiet, more subtle way than ever before."

More perplexed than before God's answer, nevertheless, Perambula shrugged and said, "I heard that 3's a charm! What are You going to do this time?"

"I have sent this man, John, to earth to remind the world of the days of Noah when I was so repulsed by evil that I drowned everything but a human remnant of creation."

"I remember." said Perambula.

"Do you remember when the dove presented the olive branch?" added God proudly. "It was My primal definition of mercy. That olive branch told the family that their difficult days of confinement were finally over. That the purified earth was ready to receive them. That their suffering would turn to joy. And it did."

This time Perambula was the one to smile as he fondly recollected the day when the eight survivors hobbled out of the ark of their salvation, baptized and meek, prepared to inherit the new earth. "Now THAT was a baptism!" exclaimed Perambula and added, "It was a rebirth for humankind."

God added, "Those days must never be forgotten, but rather should be reenacted over and over again. Each person one by one must go through what Noah and his family did, if only symbolically, to be purified as Noah was, to inherit the world as he did, to understand the mercy of the olive branch as they did."

"Well, at least they don't have to really drown. I don't think I could take watching that again." muttered Perambula who went back to watching the scene.

Perambula witnessed crowds, like those that banged on the doors of the ark for admittance, flock to John. They seemed almost as desperate because they too didn't want to die, or suffer. Only this time it was as if the doors of the ark opened and as many as came to be rescued were saved. Or was it more than that, wondered Perambula who suddenly heard John shout?

"You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" John seem to have a whip in one hand and a life preserver in the other. The people he was shouting at could only imagine the wrath he was talking about.

Perambula read in the mind of John that he was preparing the people to receive the Spirit of God! Perambula did not expect this. The angel could not understand why God so often kept His plans a secret.

Perambula saw that the people were filled with expectation, and were questioning in their hearts whether John might be the Messiah they were waiting for to deliver them from their Roman oppressors. John replied to all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water, but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear the threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

Perambula looked at God and said, "Baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire? How are You going to do that?!"

"Something is about to happen in Sheol that will shock the underworld. Keep watching Perambula." said God.

"Why don't You just tell me?"

"Sh. Here He comes."

Perambula looked on in awe as he saw Jesus coming to John who announced, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

Perambula was shocked, "They heard you! They all heard you! How did you do that? Who is this Son of yours? What is going on here?!" Perambula was more alarmed than ever. The world seemed to be transforming in ways the angel never expected to see.

Then Perambula heard this man, this so called Son of God, say, "He who has believed in Me and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."

"Saved from what?! What is He talking about?!" Perambula looked at God with outrage because whenever the angel seemed to have a good grip on what was going on down on earth, things changed, and sometimes in big ways that were completely unexpected. That just happened.