Angel… 137 Code Name… Josiah
Fiction by Gary Piper
Part One… In the Beginning
The last thing I can remember I was riding my bike on the trail. The morning was cool when I started out but by the time I made the turn at the large pond the sun had warmed the morning making it into a warm spring day. I’d made it about half way on the trail south of the large pond when suddenly a crushing pain hit my chest and instinctively I grabbed my chest and when I did I immediately lost control of my bike and down I went.
As my body made contact with the ground I was immediately was enveloped in a cold dark mist. There was no light, no air, no movement, no noise just a dark damp fog like mist. I tried to talk but even though my lips moved with my words I had no voice. Almost instantly I felt myself getting colder but then less than a heart beat there was a sudden burst of bright light hundreds of times brighter than the sun. Moments later as my eyes adjusted to the sudden burst of light I could see I was standing in what appeared to be a park. To the right was a grove of trees and in the distance I could hear water moving and when I turned around was a small stream.
I started walking toward the sound of the moving water but stopped when I saw someone walking toward me from the left. Without waiting for the stranger to get closer I called out, “Where am I and what happened to me? I was riding my bike one minute and he next minute I found myself in some sort of dark damp cave and now here?”
“Crusty,” the stranger started to say.
Interrupting him, “Wait a minute how did you know my name?”
“I know everything there is to know about. You are Crusty the Christian. You were born August 15, 1947. Do I need to go on?” the stranger replied.
“Darn right you need to go on, where am I?”
Without hesitating and rather bluntly, “You had a heart attack and died instantly and now you are in the Third Heaven,” the stranger replied, now standing directly in front of me.
“What do you mean I’m dead?” I screamed back.
“You had a massive heart attack fell off your bike but you didn’t suffer in fact before you hit the ground you suddenly appeared here at the Greeting Park in the Third Heaven.”
When I heard the words “massive heart attack” I fell to my knees and wanted to scream because I didn’t believe it but the words wouldn’t come instead I felt a strange sense of peace and contentment such as I’ve never experienced before. I was going to ask how my family was doing but before I could, “Don’t worry about your family we’ve dispatched about a dozen angels to look after them. I can assure you they could not be in better hands.”
“Will I ever see them again?” I asked.
“I can’t answer that question but all indications are eventually you will but family member reunions are reserved only in the First Heaven where Father God resides.”
“You know my name but I don’t know your name,” I commented.
“Crusty,” the stranger started, “I am called Lucas and you and I will be working very close each other. Come let’s get you settled in to your abode while living here.”
As I followed the stranger named Lucas I began looking around trying to absorb as much as I could. Since first opening my eyes something was strange about this place. Don’t get me wrong the Greeting Park as it is called is unlike anything we have on earth but something was missing. All of a sudden it dawned on me there was no sky. “Why isn’t there a sky? Are we in some kind of big building?”
“You are no longer on earth Crusty the Third Heaven does not need a sky nor does it need light because the Light of the Son illuminates all of the Three Heavens. We are here this little log cabin is where you will stay. I am sure you will be happy with it after all it was made from your earthy dreams of living in a small log cabin.”
“Can you come in Lucas I have a million questions to ask you?” I asked.
“I will come back a little later right now I am being paged by the Son and no one keeps him waiting. When I come back I’ll answer all your questions as best I can but remember even in heaven there are still mysteries.” Lucas turned and walked away.
Turning my attention to my new home I opened the door and stood in the great room of the most beautiful log home I ever saw. I immediately walked to the stairs leading to the loft and began walking up them. It was then I noticed I wasn’t limping, in fact it felt as if I never had a number of surgeries on them. Then in a burst of strength I ran up the stairs and by the time I reached the last one I wasn’t even breathing hard. Standing at the railing I looked down as the rest of the main floor turned and faced the opposite wall it was one huge wall to wall, ceiling to floor window opening up to a large deck with what looked like the Smoky Mountains for a backdrop.
“This place is perfect!” I shouted, “But then it should be after all it was made in heaven!” I turned looked at the king size bed and with one great leap hit the center of the bed and bounced about two feet back into the air bounced off and landed on the floor. I turned over on my back and began laughing at the top of my lungs.
“Is that you laughing, Crusty?” I recognized Lucas’ voice. “Yup! It’s me alright for a minute or two I thought myself about 25 years old running up the stairs, jumping on my bed, flying through the air, and landing squarely on my bum. This place is perfect I think I could spend eternity living here.”
“I’m glad you like. You and I need to talk you were the focus of my meeting with the Son and there are some things you’re going to need to know,” Lucas said, sounding serious.
A minute or two later we were sitting at the kitchen table facing each other. “Those who reside in the Third Heaven are what are called angels on earth. People residing here are chosen for their ability to relate with other people and for the depth of their relationship with the Father and the Son. And then there are a few who are chosen for special assignments to handle difficult cases you are one of those who have been chosen for special assignments.”
“Wait a minute I am not sure I am following you. Are you telling me I am going to be an angel but not only an ordinary angel but a special angel for hard cases?”
“That pretty much sums up the first part but there is more.”
“There’s more? Do I have a choice?”
“Yes, there’s more. And you do have a choice but I am sure you won’t object. First of all you’re about to get another identity one actually chosen by yourself. Until your eventual move to the First Heaven you’ll be known as Angel 137… Code Name… Josiah.”
Josiah is one of my favorite bible heroes but my first encounter with the name Josiah was an Easter Play we put on at our local church and in the play I played the character named Josiah. The Josiah I played was a fictional man living at the time of Jesus’ death and not the Old Testament King who became king at the age of 8 years old. “I am going to be called Josiah?”
“He really is one of your favorite bible characters wasn’t he?”
“He sure is and not only that I was a Josiah once in an Easter Play.” I commented.
“When the time comes for you to move up I’m sure King Josiah would be more than happy to meet you. We asked him if you could use his name and told him a little about you and he said that would make him happy.”
“WOW! That would be great. Just think Crusty T. Christian talking with King Josiah.” Then it suddenly dawned on me I would be able to meet other bible heroes as well. “I’ll be able to meet all those bible people I’ve read about and studied about. Can you tell me when I’ll get to meet Jesus?”
“Normally angels in the Third Heaven fall under my authority but the specially picked ones like yourself work directly for the Son so you’ll be working exclusively for him. When your first assignment will happen I am not sure but then when it comes to the special cases I never know. Well, I need to be somewhere before too long got some angels leaving on assignment today. By the way it never gets dark around here so don’t wait for nighttime to get some rest.”
I was doing okay until I discovered I’d be working closely with Jesus then I lost it and nothing else registered with me. I knew he was still talking because I could hear his voice but the words just bounced around in my head and then vanished. I started to ask him to repeat himself but he was gone. I went to the door to see if I could catch him but just as I reached for the doorknob someone knocked. Thinking it was Lucas I jokingly said, “Did you forget to say goodbye, Lucas?”
“It’s not Lucas,” came the reply.
“If you’re not Lucas then who are you?” I asked.
“You would call me Jesus around here I am called the Son. May I come in I’d like to talk with you?” came the reply.
I am not sure how many shades of red I turned but by the time I was able to speak my face was as hot as a firecracker, “Yes sir, please come in,” I finally managed to squeak out. The door swung open and standing before me was a tall thin man wearing a pure white robe. There was nothing special about his appearance but there was no resemblance between the real Jesus and the pictures I remember seeing of him.
As he stepped into my cabin I prepared myself for some form a chastisement for the comments I made a moment ago but instead, “Crusty T. Christian, I am glad we’ve finally had the chance to see each other face-to-face. I know Lucas has already spoke to you about why you are here rather than in the First Heaven where you really should be. Which brings me to my first and only question of you. Do you wish to remain here in the Third Heaven where you will continue the work you started on earth of making me real to as people as you are given the opportunity to or would you rather move into the First Heaven for all eternity?”
All my adult life I wondered how I would feel when I finally got the chance to stand before Jesus for the first time and as I stood looking at him now I couldn’t remember any of the many scenarios I dreamed up. The only thing I felt was an indescribable sense of peace, happiness, and joy all rolled into one. As I thought about his question the thought of spending eternity in the First Heaven caught my attention but when I looked around I felt at home here and remembering my promise to Jesus that I would make him as real to as many people as I possibly could and now more than ever I was determined to keep that promise no matter what. “Jesus, I’d like to stay here and take your reality back into the world and help others find you.”
With a huge smile on his face, “Crusty, I was hoping that would be your choice. There are a few things I want to tell you about before I send you back to the earth as Angel 137… Code Name… Josiah. First of all you already are aware of this but there is no resemblance between you as a angel now and the Hollywood angels you may be familiar with. While you are on the earth you will have available to you the power of the Holy Spirit but use it very wisely and very discretionally. When you encounter demons and as such do not hesitate to defend yourself and if necessary the persons in your charge. Even though I am telling you all this now when the time comes you will know what to do and how to do it. There is one special ability you have you may be called upon to use and I want to caution you because it will put you in grave danger and that is your ability to play “the devil’s advocate” when working with a few of the people I will be sending you to it will be a powerful tool, but also a dangerous one and you can see why. And before you use it first ask Lucas for help and he will send you a helper and protector.”
As Jesus was talking to me about what I could and couldn’t do deep inside as he spoke it I knew it. I could appear and disappear on earth at will while I wouldn’t look a bit like I did in life I wouldn’t be able to change my appearance. I knew I would not be Super Angel but I also knew I would have available to me super powers. When I began to focus on becoming “the devil’s advocate” I immediately came face-to-face with inherent dangers of denying God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. “Jesus?”
“Your concerned about playing the other side of the fence. As long as you call on Lucas to send you some help and as long as you keep the outcome of your assignment focused on the person in your charge you need not worry. And one more word of caution while the Father retains authority over the earth it is the domain of the Adversary so keep your spirit constantly in touch with mine and no power anywhere will defeat you.”
Again as he talked deep inside I could feel myself becoming stronger and not only stronger but a more fulfilling, more encompassing, more intimate with him. At the time I did not realize it but we were becoming one more completely than I ever thought possible. It was almost as if Jesus’ thoughts were my thoughts. It was as if I could feel the crushing weight of the depth of his love not just for me but for every living thing everywhere. As wave after wave of his perfect love washed over me I found myself getting very tired.
“Loving completely is exhausting isn’t it?” he asked.
Unable to speak I could only nod in agreement. “I’ll let you get some rest and at the same time you can continue to familiarize yourself with yourself. I have your first assignment for you but it will wait until your completely ready.” He walked over to gave me a big bear hug turned and left me alone. Minutes later I was in the loft sound asleep at least my body was anyway but my spirit was training itself for the next level of my fulfilling my heart’s desire of making Jesus as real to as many people as I could.