OCTOBER 9, 1996
Westlake Village, CA
"And He gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon" (Revelation 16:16).
Chapter Three, Verse Three
My dealings with the family shame issues go on, and unfortunately for our financial situation, God is using our real estate business to dredge them up. Yesterday was one of the worst days I can remember, as I continued to struggle with getting an escrow closed. I mentioned before that we have a parcel of raw land in escrow that we can't close (and therefore cannot get the money we so richly deserve at this point), until and unless a man I've called Will agrees to grant an easement over a 40 foot strip of land which he owns, and over which one must cross to go onto or out from the property. I started trying to find him 30 days ago today. His son-in-law, who is an ass-in-training to become a pompous ass, had the important job of being an intermediary for Will. He delighted in withholding his father-in-law's whereabouts or phone numbers for about two weeks. God finally took pity on me and gave me Will's phone number through a neighbor. When we talked to Will, he told Lenny and me that in exchange for the easement, what he wants is water rights for his property located adjacent to and contiguous with the one we now have in escrow. We're all on wells out in this canyon, and so water is like gold. Because there's no electricity at this moment on the subject property, the pumps and wells are inoperative, making it impossible to check the volume of water available. Nevertheless, the neighbors all believe that this parcel we have in escrow has the best well in the canyon.
We negotiated with Will and the new Buyer for a couple of days and all parties finally agreed that he would have the right to 25% of the water pumped to the surface. Due to an unfortunate encounter with one of the other neighbors, in which he had to go to court and sue to get something he had been verbally promised, Will refused to do anything without having his lawyer approve any agreement drawn. In that his own lawyer would not be able to work on this project for four to five weeks, I quickly draw an agreement stating what I thought he wanted, but all he would tell me was that it was not adequate. "Fine," I said, "but, let me find a real lawyer to help us" (as opposed to the son-in-law, a forth year law school student, the pompous-ass-in-training, as you recall).
Once again, God was gracious to me because the lawyer who had done some work for the Seller of the land in 1979, agreed to help me with the agreement I had drawn. He spent an hour and a half on the phone with me Friday and we whipped out an agreement which we thought covered everything. I tried all day to reach Will, who finally returned my call on his way home Friday night. He agreed to call me Saturday to give me his home fax number so that I could fax him the agreement the next day. He didn't call all week end. And of course, I didn't leave the house in case he did call. (It makes for a wonderful time of contemplation and relaxation).
By Monday, I knew there was a game going, but I faxed the agreement to his work and he, in turn, promised to fax it to his lawyer. By Tuesday, he still hadn't approved it, so I called him and urged him to do something quickly. He promised he would. At 4:30 yesterday afternoon, the phone rang and it was the son-in-law announcing, "Will's lawyer is unavailable for 4-5 weeks and he asked me to get involved again." My heart sank to my knees. This news felt like a spear through my side. Looking back, I can see that Lenny is right. God meant him to be for me the priest or the Levite, who passed by while I was in the ditch, for no doubt about it, I was in the ditch, big time! (Luke 10:25-37).
In fact, the son-in-law did me a favor because he told me, albeit in a very imperious manner, that he had problems with the agreement, but the good news is that he named the problems. I figured out later that he was just restating Will's concerns. For whatever reason, Will had not told me what they were. Now, I knew. So, I rallied myself one more time, pulled myself up from whatever stubs of my bootstraps were left, and called Will. While I was talking to him, I had the agreement on my computer screen and was able by God's grace to add a few words here and there which addressed most, if not all of his concerns. I faxed the revised agreement to him and also to the lawyer who had helped me with it on Friday. Then, I collapsed into exhaustion and despair. I was cranky, cross, and crabby, like a little kid in need of a nap. I took one, but it didn't help. I snapped at everyone in my life yesterday, which I regret. Lenny withdrew emotionally and my daughter Kristi hung up on me. I don't blame them. Whatever part of me was "acting out" right then was NOT nice to be near, to say the least.
Finally, last night, I fell into bed, but couldn't sleep. I'm tottering on the brink of getting sick with a cold or sinus inflammation or some other nasal malady. As I lay there, tossing on my bed, unable to sleep or breathe, the first four lines of a poem began running over and over in my head. Finally I got up to find a Sudafed or something to help manage the symptoms. While I was up, I wrote down the four lines which had been beating in my brain, and the rest of it followed as quick as I could write it down. I offer it now as the best way to describe my emotional condition last night:
The battle grows hotter. The arrows are flying. All around me I hear, the screams of the dying. Where is the one with scepter and sword? Where is the King? Where is the Lord?
My courage is fading, my faith fled away. Is there no one able to save me this day? I labor for the rest God has promised to me. I long for the day, when He sets me free.
I can't go on, and continue to fight. Take me home now. Bring me into the light. Let me lie down in the bosom of God. Cover my body with daisies and sod.
And there, I'll sleep till the trumpet shall sound, 'til with all of the saints, I am heaven bound. Sorry, Lord, I can't be your son. I'm too tired to believe. It's over. It's done.
Why did you call me? Why did you bother? How can I endure 'til your judgment is over? My spirit is willing, but my flesh so weak, I barely have strength your face to seek.
I pound on your door. I knock and I knock, but I feel like I'm beating my head on a rock. Open Yourself up to me, I implore. I need your help. I can't take any more!
Grant to me that I should see your vast plan, of investing yourself in a weak, mortal man. To share your glory? Surely, you jest. You'll give me your life? You'll grant me rest?
Then, open my eyes, Lord, that I may see, what you have planned eternally for me. Speak to me, Lord. Let me hear you say how you are helping me survive this long, dreadful day.
Show me your purpose. Take away my fright. Hold me in your bosom, throughout this long night. And when I awake, at the break of day, I'll rejoice greatly. My fear's fled away.
But still, I don't think I can be your son. I see too much work here that needs to be done. There's no one to turn to but You, only You. So, I guess I'll "hang in there" until you are through.
And when you are finished, and I'm gleaming like gold, You'll say, "Look what I made from that lump of coal."
This poem describes very well how I was feeling when I went back to bed. I was feeling sick and so I went down into my emotional "bunker" to talk to my inner child. When I ignore her or don't meet her needs, I always get sick because that's the only reason there could be to rest (another neurotic compulsion from my birth family/church). So, I was talking to her and apologizing for not taking care of her, when suddenly, I found myself in a subterranean cavern. It looked like pictures I've seen of the catacombs, with pillars holding the ceiling up and a damp floor that might have been earth. I realized at once that this was within my psyche, deep in my subconscious somewhere. God had opened it up for me to see. I was horrified to see giant birds of prey sitting around, some in cages, some not. There were bones and bits of fur and tufts of hair lying around, remnants of their meals, I supposed. There was a sense of evil and the demonic there as well, though I didn't see any "demons" unless they look like birds of prey.
At any rate, I cried out to God to help me, and just like that, He came right in to clean up the mess. I can't remember what He looked like, but He had in His right hand, a fire hose. He said, "Stand aside." Then He put me up on a raised nook or ledge on the side of the cavern. He turned on the spigot and a tremendous gush of water came out of the hose, sweeping everything ahead of it, like a rushing, mighty river. All the birds, the bones, and the debris of my life was swept away by the cleansing rush of water. I immediately remembered Jesus' story about the unclean spirit which was gone out of a man. It walked through "dry places," seeking rest, and finding none, said, "'I will return into my house from whence I came out;' and when he is come, he finds it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goes he, and takes with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first'" (Matt: 12:43-45).
So I said, "Lord, what if the end of this place in me is worse than the first?" He didn't answer in words. Instead, He brought the Ark of the Covenant into the cavern. I saw the ark itself, the mercy seat and the cherubims, who with outstretched wings faced each other (Ex. 25:20). The Shekinah Glory filled the entire place (Ex. 24:17). God was in His holy temple, which like Paul said, was right there inside of me (I Cor. 3:16). Shiloh had come (Gen. 49:10). There's a verse in Revelation where John saw the temple in heaven opened, and he saw seven angels coming out with seven plagues (Rev. 15:56). "Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed" (Vs. 7-8, NIV). Now remember that in my vision, I was standing inside the temple with the Ark of the Covenant. So, I asked, "Lord, does this mean that the plagues in my life are over and that's why I can now be inside the temple?" He didn't answer me, but I have hope that this is what it means.
As for the birds of prey, they are symbols used in the book of Revelation as well. They are associated with the fall of Babylon, which I believe represents the systems, religions, governments, and other self aggrandizing deceptions of this present world. Chapters 17 and 18, of the book of Revelation relate the amazing story of the fall of this great city, whom John the revelator refers to as "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth" (17:5). I've read it so many times and it leaves me wondering every time I read it. It has to have some monumental significance for us, because two whole chapters are devoted to it.
The part about the birds is in Rev. 18:1-2. It reads, "And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, 'Babylon the Great, is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.'" This reference was what led me to believe that God has swept me clean from all unclean and evil things, and everything that makes "war with the Lamb, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful" (17:14). And, of course, like all of us presently enduring the tribulation, I hang onto the promise that just when our flesh thinks we can't stand it another minute, He comes in to save us (Matt. 24:21-22).
The King James rendition of this battle of Armageddon, is so thrilling, so spectacular that I want to include it here: "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and his name is called THE WORD OF GOD. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, and out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it, he should smite the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; and he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he has on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (REV. 19:11-17). If that imagery doesn't cause me to fall upon my face in worship before His throne, nothing ever could.
I woke up this morning feeling indeed like a big battle had been fought in my bunker. I told Lenny that I believe this was "THE Battle of Armageddon," and he smiled and said, "Maybe." All I can say is that I am bone weary at this point, and I earnestly pray it was THE battle, not some preliminary skirmish. Where we're going and what we'll do when we get there is a mystery, but God knows it all, and He'll walk with us and be there when we arrive. Or maybe, walking with God is not a destination to be reached, but rather a journey to unfold as we walk along with Him.
All I can say for sure is that when the battle of Armageddon rages hot and heavy, within and without, and the voices of the dying cry, "Woe is me. I'm doomed," we have an E-mail from God waiting. It is recorded in Rev. 21:3-7: "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.' And he that sat upon the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.' And he said unto me, 'It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I WILL BE HIS GOD, AND HE SHALL BE MY SON.'" What more could I want?
Shine Forth In Me!
Come forth in me, Show Your glory to me. Oh, Lord, let me see You; Oh Lord, let me hear You; Oh, Lord, let me feel You. And shine forth in me.
Oh, Lord, now I see You Oh Lord, now I hear You; Oh Lord, now I feel You; Your glory's in me.
Shine forth in me; For all to see. Oh Lord, let them see You; Oh Lord, let them hear You; Oh Lord, let them feel You;
Shining outward from me. For Lord, when they see You; And Lord, when they hear You; And Lord, when they feel You; They'll know they are free.
By Jan Austin Antonsson, October, 1996
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
Forward to Faxes From the Fiery Furnace
Faxes From The Fiery Furnace, Chapter One
Shame From Shiloh, Chapter Two
Baggage From Babylon, Chapter Four
Just A Note From Job, Chapter Five
Joy From Jerusalem, Chapter Six
Memo From Moses, Chapter Seven
Dancing with the Devil, Chapter Eight
News From Neosho, Chapter Nine
The Glory Road
We would enjoy hearing from you!
This writing was uploaded to the web 8/26/05,
by Jan Antonsson, webmeister,
and last updated 12/04/08.