I am old. I am older than old. I witnessed the first light. I watched God create the universe. I saw Adam take his first breath.
God made men to make it easier to sort good and evil. Before creation, good spirits roamed the void in concert with opponent spirits. There was combat and there was hostility to disturb God’s peace. Lucifer and his troupes defied Divinity at every turn, to menace God in vain attempts to conquer Him.
When I first came to earth, I was so distracted by time and matter that I lost sight of those menacing demons that fill space with their mischievous antics. Reading Anthony's story, I was reminded of how insidious they are, and how vital to conquer them.
Anthony devoted his material life to battle the enemy. I was shocked. By his extraordinary love and devotion to Jesus Christ, he became as a magnet for demons who craved to destroy his soul and thus dishearten God again.
Anthony knew that the power of God, the power of good, will always be victorious. Instead of succumbing to the desires of his flesh, or to the power of an ego, Anthony clung to Christ by appropriating virtues one by one, (graciousness, unceasing prayer, freedom from anger, loving kindness, endurance, fasting, wakefulness, meekness, long suffering, piety toward Christ, and ultimately love.) Each virtue was won through battle with dangerous demons and self. By obeying all of the commands and precepts of Christ, and by being a vehicle of the Holy Spirit, with each victory, Anthony grew so godlike that he was able to heal as Jesus did, and drew an army of disciplined men to follow him into the desert.
The manuscript of Athanasius awakened me to the fact that Earth is not merely where time and matter exist as a stage for the little gods; it is the final battlefield in the universal war between good and evil. How blind could I have been me of all angels, to think that the enemy Lucifer would take a backseat in the Creation Project?
This manuscript energized me to leap off of my cloud and head back to Egypt, the scene of refuge and of slavery, where the old covenant collided with the new one. Where Abraham’s children fled and flourished, and were miraculously freed from slavery to fulfill his covenant, so that with the new covenant God in Christ could offer pure life and immortality. In Egypt Anthony signed this new covenant with his body, mind, and heart. This man I had to see.
It was easy to find Anthony. He was surrounded by demons and angels and a few men in robes. I found him as a man of 105 years old, aware that soon He would journey out of his body and into the arms of his Savior.
When I arrived I heard him counseling fellow disciples. "When I leave you, my brothers, be watchful and do not destroy your discipline, but as though beginning anew zealously preserve your determination. For you know the treachery of the demons,"
At that I saw a gaggle of goblins giggle.
“how fierce they are, but how little power they have. Don't be afraid of them. Breathe Christ and trust Him. Live every day as if it is your last. Have no fellowship with schismatics or heretical Arians. (I saw the Bride smile.) Be followers first of God, and then of the Saints that at your death they may receive you as well-known friends into the eternal habitations."
After he said this I observed Anthony lift his feet to get up because he saw his spirit friends coming for him, and I saw them too, a heavenly host. Anthony was so happy to see them like old friends arrive to take him home.
And take him home they did. For I saw Anthony leave his body, and on the way up turn briefly to gaze upon it as a brother with whom he shared many good times and bad.
I saw the demons dissolve as they had to give way to a great congregation of angels and saints.
I saw God, in the familiar form of Christ come to meet Anthony in the air.
On earth in front of me, I saw two men come to his shell of a body, and wrap it in a large brown cloth. Then they carried it away for secret burial. Anthony had left strict instructions not to allow the Egyptians to mummify him and put him on display as was their custom with venerated men, but instead he insisted that he be buried as Christ was buried.
As I saw Anthony’s soul being escorted into the heavens, I heard Christ’s voice resounding for Anthony’s disciples to hear. “Do not rejoice in this, that the demons are subject to you, and that you cause Satan to fall like lightning from heaven, or because I have given you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, or even that nothing shall by any means hurt you but rather rejoice because your name is written in the book of life.”
And then to Anthony, Christ said, “Anthony, my son, enter into your rest.”
Have you ever seen an angel cry?