Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)
TITLE: The Conquering King
By Josiah Kane
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It was a monster, a Behemoth Minotaur. He was perfectly black, without a glint of light shining off him, except for the dull brown stains on his fangs and talons and horns: the blood of the men he had devoured. Flies buzzed around his filthy head, but even they dared not land. His eyes pulsated with the blackness of evil, shrouding the ground around him in shadow. As he stormed toward the trapped Christians the earth trembled. He could not harm them himself, nor could his evil shadow engulf their light, for they bore the mark of Jesus’ blood. He did not need to batter them, mangle them, and eat them. In this case he was quite content to simply destroy them. He threw back his head and roared with noxious laughter, already drunk on the inevitable victory.
The beast cursed his assembled opposition, and demanded their worship. No one complied. No one knelt down.
They gazed at the heaven, and defied his call with Christocentric victory hymns, their faith founded upon the unshakable rock. A massive ten-engined aircraft dove from the sky to deliver its payload of nuclear death. The Beast knew that he had succeeded. He knew that he had destroyed God's Church and God's creation. Before him the assembly began fervently praying. As one they chanted, upon this monumental mountain, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup of suffering away from us. Yet not our wills, but yours be done.” Some expected to be rescued, in spite of the odds. But none imagined; none could conceive of what was about to take place.
The B-36 came closer, wheeling upward to drop the bomb, and disappeared. The nuclear device on-board had not detonated. The fuel tank had not ruptured. The plane—before the eyes of all the Christians, all the soldiers, and the monster—had simply ceased to be. It had been supplanted by another mighty incomprehensible being.
He stood raised up in the sky, so brilliant as to make the sun look dim. His arms were stretched out to embrace the planet he so loved, extended as they had been once before. But this time he was standing in life rather than hanging in death. He now commanded obvious victory rather than apparent defeat; was exalted by God rather than humiliated by man. And so he stayed, arms outstretched before his people. God incarnate was a groom returning for his bride.
In his right arm he wielded his sceptre made of seven iron staffs clasped together in his mighty hand. Around his head a handful of stars fluttered like butterflies in the beauty of summer. An army of angels swept down to encircle the jubilant believers, locking flaming swords to make a solid wall of fire against the quaking human force.
The stars around Jesus spun ever faster, a swirling cloud that veiled the sudden surge of holy fury. The Lord swept down upon the beast and knocked him hurtling backwards. The black fiend cowered. His arrogance melted to fear, and he collapsed into a shuddering, weeping coal-black heap. Suddenly creating a long, unbreakable chain, the conquering King trussed the beast and rose into the sky. He opened his mouth, and his words had the might of a typhoon but the sweet gentleness of a peaceable dove. With a single word he ascended into the clouds, pulling the gathering of believers away from the planet, to bring them into his heavenly kingdom. And as he flew away, the Earth crumbled, and poured forth a fetid mass of fire to engulf his foes.
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