To love the spirit is worthy,
To love the flesh divine.
— Proverbs 14:40
A man from the crowd said, “Rabbi, my father was murdered last night and lies dead in our house as I speak.”
Jesus answered him, “Who can cut short what God has laid out forever? I tell you the truth, the spirit is eternal and everything God does will endure forever.”
“I warn everyone who hears the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
-Revelation 22: 18-19
I was plagued by self-doubt all day. Why, I couldn’t say.
I had finished all of my chores and errands for the day and had nothing to do until dinner, so I felt like enjoying the natural serenity around me. The sky was blue, the grass green. Birds chirped and frolicked without care. I was in Eden again, though the Tigris and Euphrates were on the other side of the world.
Being hungry and somewhat tired, I sat down on a bench to enjoy my paradise, relaxing and basking in the warmth of the sun above me.
It had not been but a moment when from out of heaven there came down to me a large white sheet, held from far above at its four corners. As I looked into it, I saw a multitude of human forms, feminine and nearly divine, but ultimately mortal. There were all kinds: light skinned, dark skinned, tanned, red-headed, black-headed, brown-headed, blonde, freckles, dimples, short, tall, slender, stocky, young and mature. They were all healthy, clothed in nothing but the work of God, and the bounty of God rose in me immediately.
Then I heard a voice say to me, “Get up. Kill and eat.”
“Never, my Lord,” I replied, “I would never make myself impure in such a way.”
“Do not call anything impure that God has made clean,” I was told, and three more times I protested, but was chastised. Then the sheet ascended back into heaven and left me alone.
I woke and found myself back in Eden, a dark cloud over my head where the sun had once been. A raindrop fell on my hand, and I rose from the bench where I had dozed to go back to my bed and sleep. Once there, I lay down on my bed and closed my eyes, but tired as I was, sleep would not come. Instead, my mind watched the vision, reviewing it over and over again for errors and new revelation. I saw none.
My instructions were clear as scripture, clearer even for scripture come from God to man to words then back to man. This had come from God direct. What to do, what to do?
A voice—my own or the Lord’s I cannot say—spoke to me then and reminded me that the spirit was not a finite thing and endured forever. It was revealed to me that the eternal spirit survives even when the body does not. I then saw Elisha inherit a double portion of his master’s spirit and saw by how this was done. Elijah’s body was taken up to heaven, this is true, but the chariot was Elisha’s throat, and his bowels the whirlwind.
It was a miracle, I was told, but not a miracle of Elisha’s doing, for God alone determined who received such spirit and who did not. Did the Lord not use Elisha to even greater glory? Surely, this was a good thing.
I awoke then, and found it was morning and I was greatly distressed. Was Hosea not told to marry a prostitute? Was Ezekiel not told to prophecy, “This city is a cooking pot, and we are the meat”? Was Jonah, commanded to prophecy to the city of Nineveh, not swallowed by a great fish for failing to do so? How much more I, having been twice told.
Yet I also remembered King David who was incited by the Lord to give census to his nation in a time of peace, and whose punishment was the nation to suffer three days of plague, of which seventy thousand died. Unlike him, however, I have no shekels to buy an altar and am not the Lord’s anointed.
My plague was self-doubt, and I saw not how else to cure it.