Unto Eternal Life
Kyren looked down at her daughter again, admiring the new life she held and thanking her goddess for the heir that she had promised to give to her.
The only thing the girl needed now was a suitable name.
“She will be called Alena,” said Kyren.
Diana added silently in her host’s mind, “The next in a great line. So long as you find what I have sent you to look for...”
As the ship sailed onward to its invisible goal, Asher found more time to scour the book that Janina had given him.
It continued to amaze him how many times the Torah was referenced. Not just the Torah proper, but also the Nevi’im and the Ketuvim. Perhaps there was a bit of credence to the Iscandari queen’s claims about this book. He was thankful that they were entering lesser-known space; the Order would be less likely to find him out here.
As he thought about it, he wondered why they were even in this part of the galaxy. They were nearing the edge of the Kelal system – the far limits of known space.
Every time he asked his wife where they were heading she would say that she didn’t know, or that she just wanted to go “a little farther out.” Her definition of “a little farther” had turned into “a lot farther.” If they didn’t stop soon and turn around, Asher didn’t know where they would ultimately end up.
He went over to the navigation computer for the hundredth time and checked the course that his wife had plotted. He did not recognize the area she had designated to be their stopping point, but he trusted Kyren to know what she was doing. She would not risk their lives to search for answers to her many questions about the past – at least, not now with Alena to think of. That at least gave him a minimal amount of comfort.
He returned to one of the extra personnel seats on the bridge and resumed his studying.
Things went on like this for months. The small ship forged onward through unknown territory, stopping at whatever worlds they could find that would at least allow them some brief exploration in the suits they had brought for such occasions. Asher began to get a bit edgy as they journeyed onward, but as little Alena began to grow into a beautiful child he became distracted with his fatherly duties to his only remaining daughter.
One day – as well as “day” could be judged on board a ship – Asher was standing in one of the empty halls of the ship, walking towards the bridge, thinking about his little daughter.
Sometimes when he looked at Alena, Asher thought about the girl’s sister and half-sister, light-years away, in the homes of strangers, being loved and cared for by people who were not their blood relatives. Thoughts of Trelaina and Ilya seemed to haunt him, causing him to imagine that they were here on the ship. Once he even saw blue-eyed Trelaina as a full-grown woman, staring back at him in the hall of the ship.
It had been midnight – though midnight on board ship only meant that the lights were dimmed or turned off – but the eerie sense of foreboding had been present with him nonetheless. The memory of the sight of his daughter rang through him.
He had just come out of the room he and Kyren shared, heading to the bridge for something – he had long ago forgotten what it was – and he had just rounded the last corner on his short journey. He had looked up to see something that he had no doubt had made all color drain from his face.
Standing there before him in a floor-length, simple, blue dress stood the adult form of Trelaina. How he knew it was her and not Ilya he was still unsure. The impression had somehow been indelibly driven into his mind that it was the Telzarti-reared girl, and not the Iscandarian princess. Ever since that day however, he had avoided going to the bridge at night for fear of seeing those blue eyes just... staring at him – not accusing, not belittling, not hating – merely looking.
Even now a shiver ran through him as he thought about what he and Kyren had done in bringing Trelaina into the world and then abandoning her. He should have been more insistent with his wife. He should have found a way to help his own daughter... he should have done everything differently...
The guilt and regret began to swallow him.
Then, just as he thought he could stand the guilt no more a fluttering hope swept through his mind on a wind from another world – a higher world.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive...*”
“But are these words truth?” he asked himself, still wrestling with that one fundamental question.
Then another portion of the strange book he had received on Iscandar came to him. His Jewish mind automatically reverting back to the Torah for the quoted section of the passage, “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.* (Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee:)” Then suddenly he remembered more of the words of the prophet Isaiah, words he had memorized in childhood that he had not truly thought about until now – here on this tiny ship in the middle of nowhere, devoid of contact with the outside world around him.
“And all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.*” The words rang within him. This strange Book had to be true. He could not explain it objectively yet, but he knew in his heart that these words were just as much the words of Adonai as the Torah was.
Saying something like that back on his homeworld might get him exiled, or even killed if he declared it to the wrong person. Many in the past had claimed to have found new revelation from Adonai. Their efforts has always ended badly. But all of the other people who had brought other books before the Order in the past had not had words like those found here in this Book. None of those other books had referenced the Torah at all – much less applied it to life and faith. This Book spoke of many historical figures, including the one known as Yeshua.
No other book had done these things – no book except this Book.
The voice of the computer broke into Asher’s train of thought, staunching the flow of hope that his heart was eagerly consuming.
As if on cue, Kyren immediately appeared beside him, holding Alena.
The world they had reached was beautiful. It looked much like Iscandar, Telezart, or even Neptoah, with its forests, beaches, oceans, lakes, rivers, and other prominent geographical features jutting up – or down, respectively – from the planet’s surface.
“Where are we?” Asher asked, still staring out the front view port of the ship. When no answer came he looked over at Kyren and froze, his eyes betraying his sudden fear.
Kyren, formerly maintaining the appearance of normality, now had a wild look on her face. A strange light seemed to be emanating from her unearthly green eyes and there was a twisted smile on her face.
“Kyren!” Asher exclaimed.
Having noticed that her husband was looking at her, Kyren’s face reverted to normal again and she smiled sweetly at him. “Yes?”
Asher shook his head to clear the terrible image from his mind. These crazy apparitions had to be from being out in space for too long.
“Oh, nothing.” he covered for his brief outburst. “I was just asking where we are.”
Kyren gave a one-shouldered shrug. “I don’t know it’s name, but I have a feeling it’s the place we need to be right now.” she said with another strange little grin.
“But you’ve never been out here before.” he protested.
“Should that make any difference?” she said, “A feeling is a feeling.”
Something in her face told him not to ask her any more questions about why they were here, instead he turned to more practical things. “Do you think we need to notify anyone that we’re coming?”
“How should I know?” she said. “I’ve never been here before.”
As it turned out, there was indeed a growing population on the planet they had found, but there was no strictly established docking protocol. When Asher contacted the port authorities he also found out that the people here spoke something akin to Kyren’s native tongue, though some of the vocabulary and idioms were different.
Another oddity Asher noticed were the ships docked near theirs. They were not quite like any other ships he had seen before. They were sleeker – newer and more advanced than the technology he had seen throughout the rest of the galaxies he had been in.
All of this raised a warning flag in Asher’s subconscious mind, indicating that all was not as it seemed. A feeling of dread began to ooze over him as the image of Kyren’s twisted face filled his mind’s eye once again and he realized that what he had seen had been dreadfully real and not a figment of his over-active, space-fevered imagination.
“What have I done...?” he thought to himself as the guilt he had felt hours ago began to crash over him again. “Something is terribly wrong here and I’ve helped it to come about...whatever it is...”
“And all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” the words echoed through his mind again, turning Asher’s despairing soul again to Adonai.
Asher looked around, suddenly full of an inexplicable hope that rose above the terrible guilt. Seeing that he was alone he whipped out the device that was always in his pocket these days and turned it on. The words of the Book from Iscandar lit up the screen, showing him the passage he had just now been able to get to reading through. The title of this section was “Romans.” He had begun reading this section yesterday, before he had been interrupted by Kyren who handed off Alena to him for a while so that she could rest.
The bookmark he had left in this section indicated exactly where he had left off and he began again at the marked section, his eyes widening as he read it.
“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
“For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
“But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Understanding began to dawn in Asher’s face. If the Torah was meant to reveal to him his sin... He continued reading,
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
Tears began to well up in the Jew’s eyes as he read the words of a former Pharisee named Paul.
“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
“Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
“For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
“And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
“Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
“The righteousness of our father Abraham? I can have that righteousness?” he thought as hope continued to swell within him.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“Adonai...” Asher whispered into the empty void of the desolate bridge. He knew the truth now. These words that he had just read – these wonderful words so full of life, had told him what he needed to know. This Book almost seemed as though it were... alive somehow.
“He did not come as King this time...” Asher said to himself putting together the pieces from the rest of this Book and connecting them to the Torah, “First He had to come as the Sacrifice.” he looked down at his hands, trying to imagine the scenes he had read about the crucifixion of the One, Jesus as portions of Isaiah’s prophecies spilled through his mind.
“Yeshua.” Asher whispered. “He was the final Atonement for us all! Not the blood of beasts shed in the temples: but the blood of One so much better – so much higher than they! The very Son of Adonai...” the tears of realization fell.