Friday, December 04, 2009

The Diary of Ash - Year 7 Bible—station based—Activity (Written for AUC Education Department)

Re: The Diary of Ash

Dear Colleagues,

I need your help. I am not sure what my team has discovered.

This morning I stood, peering in awe through the thick protective viewing window of the worlds only nonlinear particle replicator. The specimen box inside the replicator, empty just moments before, now held a book—it’s edges smoldering.

This very complex machine peers through a miniature wormhole, as if through a tiny fish-eyed window, into the future. The “eye” can be swiveled around the distant time to locate a small object. Then, in the present, the replicator creates a copy of the object in view.

It was highly theoretical. None of us really expected it to work. And yet, the book at which I had focused the eye of the wormhole was in the specimen box. Well, not the original book, but an exact particle-by-particle copy.

Images of the book appeared on huge flat-screens in the viewing room. It was a journal. Handwritten on the cover were the words: “The Diary of Ash.” A personal journal from the future! I rushed out of the viewing room, into the heart of the replicator, to the specimen box.

The corners and edges of the book were still smoldering. Clearly the replicator ran a bit hot for paper. But the journal seemed to be otherwise intact.

Slowly I lifted the lid off the specimen box and set it aside. Carefully I opened the journal. Following is a detailed description.

On the first page, in childlike scrawl, are the words, “Dear Diary, It’s me, Ash. Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written. I’m 13 now.” A complete entry follows. Above the diary entry, where the date should be, are the words: “1st Entry — AA01, Day 5.”

On the inside of the cover, at the bottom, are the words: “After Ascension (AA) is the dating system we Saved Ones have chosen for the new era.”

An envelope is fixed to the inside of the cover. Using a pair of tweezers, I removed five pieces of paper. Tattered and warn—from much handling, no doubt—each piece has a typed quotation and, in the margins, handwritten notes.

Copies of these paper fragments and the diary entries have been included with this letter. Please analyze them and get back to me.

Anxiously awaiting your detailed response,

Dr Marcus Adams


The paper fragments:

The date for our destruction arrived. At midnight we were to be killed. Just before this was to happen God came to rescue us… A deep blackness, deeper than the darkness of the night, fell upon the earth. 1 Then a rainbow, shining from the throne of God, filled the sky. The attackers that had been approaching to kill us stopped in amazement. Their mocking cries died away as, with fear in their faces, they looked on that incredible rainbow….
Not long after it appeared, it faded away and the sun came out, shining in full strength. Signs and wonders followed quickly…. There fell a great hail:… and men cursed God for it “was exceedingly great.” 2…

In Handwritten Scrawl: Amazing how much the last days and moments on earth were similar to the prophet’s expectations. Truly amazing how God communicates everything He is planning to His people through the Prophets!

Another event now took place that we had known would happen. Certain people were resurrected to see the second coming of King Jesus… “They also that pierced him… those that mocked and derided Christ’s dying agonies, and the most violent opposers of His truth and His people are raised to see Him in His glory, and to see the honour placed upon those who are loyal and obedient.” “Those who derided his claim to be the Son of God are speechless now. There is the haughty Herod who jeered at His royal title and told the mocking soldiers to crown Him king. There are the very men, who with mocking hands placed on His form the purple robe, on His sacred head the thorny crown, and in his unresisting hand the mimic scepter, and bowed before Him in blasphemous mockery. The men who struck Him and spit upon the Prince of life now turn from His piercing gaze… Those who drove the nails through His hands and feet, the solder who pierced His side, see these marks with terror and remorse. The priests and rulers who had led out in the attack on Him now recall the events of Calvary.”7

In Handwritten Scrawl: I wasn’t able to see this prophecy fulfilled as I was in Australia when Jesus returned. But, I have talked to witnesses. It was just as suggested by the prophets.

A “final earthquake shook the earth. In fear, our attackers tried to escape from the judgements of God which were now shown to all. Some had hurried past us as we came from our hiding places. Now they ‘hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains, but at the same time, in fear, said to the mountains and rocks, ‘fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne … for the great day of his anger is come, and who will be able to stand?’ 8. …
Our attackers who stayed in the open and were not destroyed continued to look in terror on the scene. Streams stopped flowing. Dark, heavy clouds clashed against one another. Then through a break in the clouds, a star beamed with a brilliancy four times the darkness….10 the clouds were swept back and there appeared a hand holding two tables of stone folded together. It was God’s 10 commandments… the hand opened the tables, and there were seen the commandments, traced with what looked like a pen of fire. The words were so plain that all could read them. They were an exact copy of the law given to Moses,..

In Handwritten Scrawl: This was both the scariest and most awe-inspiring time of those final moments on the Old Earth. Those who had rejected Christ were irate at us for disobeying them. They tried to kill us. When the sky revealed the law of the Lord, we all saw it—evil and Godly alike. I’m not sure what emotions our attackers felt, but I know I was overjoyed!

Not long after, some of our group who had been gazing at the heavens excitedly called out, “Look! Look! Look over there!” When we asked, “Where?” they pointed out a small black cloud, about half the size of a man’s hand. 14 In solemn silence we gazed at it. As it grew larger and drew nearer the earth, the cloud’s darkness faded completely away, and it became one large burst of indescribable glory. At the same time we heard beautiful music… growing in volume as Jesus and His angels neared the earth. 15
In a short time the bright cloud drew very close to earth and covered every bit of the sky from horizon to horizon…. Finally, we saw HIM—JESUS HIMSELF, the Son of God, in all of His glory. He was dressed in a robe of the whitest light. His hair was white and curly and lay on His shoulders. His feet had the appearance of fire. In His right hand there was a sharp sickle, and in His left a silver trumpet. His eyes were as a flame of fire. On His head He wore a double crown of glory; a crown within a crown. Words completely fail to describe this incredible scene.18

In Handwritten Scrawl: Never will another memory take the place this one holds. The unveiling of Jesus the King! What a glorious day! I will ever cherish this memory!

At this time we heard a trumpet ringing loud and clear, we were sure, over the entire earth…. In the silence that followed this trumpet, Jesus, now near the earth, called out in a loud voice that was heard by all, “Awake! Awake! You who sleep in the dust. Arise.” At the same time the earth was again shaken by a great earthquake and graves were opened…. All, from Adam on down, came out…. 20 As each person stepped from the grave he was greeted by his own angel, who had been his guardian from his earliest moment…. Immediately afterward these angels spoke incredible words: ‘Follow us,’ they invited. ‘We are now going to lead you to meet Jesus your Saviour.’ As soon as they said this, our feet left the ground and we slowly rose into the air. As more and more of the saved came from all over the earth, the group moving up grew larger and larger, with the angels gradually making columns on either side. As we rose higher and higher, an angel choir struck up a song of praise….
The time of celebration had begun when we would rest from war - when the whole land would rest. The promise of Jesus had been fulfilled. He had returned. He was bringing us home. He was ending the war. Now we would be with Him forever. A rich, amazing reward was before us. Now we would meet Jesus Himself, face to face!” 25

In Handwritten Scrawl: I had cherished this quotation above all the others before the Second Coming. I longed to meet Jesus. Now that I have, I long to meet Him again and again and again! Every moment in his presence is both precious and glorious. Oh, how I love Jesus!

Entry 1 - AA01, Day 5
Dear Diary,
It’s me, Ash. Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written. I’m 13 now. I couldn’t find my old journal, so I started this new one. It’s kind of fitting too because my life — everyone’s life, actually — has just gone through a huge change.
Jesus came back! No, I’m not kidding. He really did. Just like all the stories at church! First, there was this almighty trumpeting that made every person on Earth stop and look up. And I mean everyone — From Bourke to Bangladesh, Sydney to Seoul, Melbourne to Madrid — you get the point.
Then the sky ripped apart like someone tearing through a huge canvas. Actually, it reminded me of football players running through the large banner at the beginning of a game. Only it wasn’t a handful of guys, it was Jesus and about a zillion angels. Very cool! It brought the dead to life! They popped out of the ground and headed toward Jesus.
Everyone who loves Jesus floated up to meet Him in the air. I’m serious! I know it sounds crazy-wacky-zany, but it’s true! It’s like, people more attracted to Jesus than Earthly stuff had a new gravitational centre. Jesus got close enough to pull us to Himself, and that’s where we went! All my fears of the Second Coming completely disappeared when I saw Jesus. His presence gave everyone amazing peace.
So, anyway, now were making the 7-day trip to Heaven. There’s a pretty huge group of people here with me. We are zinging through the universe. Yesterday we went right through Orion’s belt! We’re traveling faster than I ever thought possible. Jesus is at the front, the angels are in the back and all of us Saved Ones (that’s what the angels call us—Saved Ones) are in the middle. It’s like a huge train headed to Heaven!
Jesus calls us by name. It is amazing! He knows each of us like we are his only child. On day 2 (we’re on day 5 of the trip right now) Jesus was working his way through the crowd and when he saw me, he smiled and said, “Hey Ash, enjoying the trip?” I was stunned! I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t even think of words to say. I just had this dumb super-smile plastered to my face while I nodded furiously. He gave me a hug and said we would have plenty of time to talk later. Then he said something that still makes me laugh. He held me at arms length and said, “Keep smiling, Ash!” Then He was gone.
Lots of stuff is different now. People who had scars, or sicknesses or anything else physically or even mentally wrong with them, are perfectly whole now. People who haven’t seen each other in years (because they died or were separated by war—that kind of stuff) are finding each other and having massive celebrations. Right after we lifted off the ground, guardian angels plucked up the resurrected babies (that had died before growing up) and flew them straight to their mothers. That was amazing to watch. Such joy!
It all seems impossible. But it’s real! I can’t wait to see Heaven!

Entry 2 - AA01, Day 11

Dear Diary,
Wow! Heaven is amazing. If I knew a better word than “amazing” I would use it. It’s like nothing I have ever seen or even imagined! I’ve been here for 4 days now and this was the first chance (and I mean the very first!) to actually sit and write. It has been intense!
The day after my last entry we started seeing a faint glow in the distance. I thought it was another star—we saw a lot of stars along the way—but it didn’t go past like all the others. It just kept getting brighter and brighter. Slowly it dawned on us that we were seeing Heaven.
Now that I’m here, I can tell you: It is bright!
Oddly, there’s no sun. The only star around here is God (He’s a superstar!) and all the light comes from Him. Heaven is a giant cube. Imagine a huge hollow Rubik’s Cube floating in space. God’s in the middle sitting on His throne and light is gushing from Him in every direction. There’s a wide glassy-surfaced river flowing out of the base of the throne. This ‘River of Life’ flows under a massive tree with roots growing on both sides of the river. It’s called the ‘Tree of Life’ and has a different kind of fruit every month and enough fruit for everyone to have a piece whenever they want one! So, to sum up; the ‘River of Life’ flows from the ‘Throne of Light’ through the ‘Tree of Life.’ It’s like heaven’s own tongue-twister!
This is where it starts getting weird, or at least very hard to explain. Even though it is a cube, there are foundations—twelve of them—and they are each made from a different kind of gemstone and each have the name of a different disciple written on them. On the surfaces of this Heavenly cube, there are pure-gold streets (that you can sort of see through) lined with houses. One of the houses belongs to my family and all our relatives live nearby. Each street is crazy-long and goes from one edge of a cube-side to the other edge. At the end of each golden street there is a huge gate. And each gate is made of a single pearl. The first time I saw one of these gates, my immediate thought was, “how big are the oysters around here?”
Everything here blows my mind! Here’s the trippiest thing I’ve seen so far; when the light from God’s throne hits the foundations it takes on the colour of that stone. This produces the most amazing rainbow—but it’s straight, not curved. God’s light takes on the colour of whatever it goes through. Come to think of it, the same is true with people. Any goodness that shines out of us is God’s light taking on our uniqueness and personality. Pretty cool!
It’s so awesome to think I get to live here for a thousand years!

Entry 3 - AA01, Day 15

Dear Diary,

Yesterday was my first Sabbath in Heaven. We gathered in the outer court of the Temple and faced the holy place. The worship service was amazing! Angel choirs—we seemed to be surrounded by them—led the worship songs. They sang songs we knew from Earth. Then they taught us a new song. It was fantastic! I usually don’t sing, because I sound like Kermit the Frog. The music was so loud that I thought, who’s gonna hear me? When I sang, my voice amazed me! I can sing! Awesome.

Then Jesus stood in front of the altar and, in a loud voice, began to preach. It was so different to any sermon I have ever heard before. He told us how much He loved the world—enough to die—and the detailed plan He had been living out for the last 6,000+ years. We all listened with rapt attention.

In the middle of the sermon something really weird happened. There was another layer of sound above the sermon. It was Jesus’ voice but He was talking just to me. He told me how much He loved me. He told me He died for me. Then he told me my new name! It’s such a cool name! I love it! And only Jesus and me know it! I wish I could tell you what it is, but I can’t write it. It doesn’t work like a normal word. I can’t explain it. I think only Jesus can say it correctly.

After Jesus finished telling us the epic salvation story, He told us what we would be doing for the next thousand years while in Heaven. Although there will be plenty of time to meet famous Bible heros and hear their stories, there are also other stories we must listen to—the stories of people who did not make it to Heaven.

Some of the Saved Ones have been asking why their pastor, parent or another loved one is not here in Heaven. There is a way to find the answer—and that is our primary task for the next thousand years. We are to examine the detailed records kept by God of every thought, action and unconfessed sin. They have all been recorded. Our task is to explore the stories of the Lost Ones and decide if God has been fair in His judgement.

There are also people here in Heaven who some Saved Ones don’t think should be here. We can read their records too and discover that they, like us, gave their lives to Jesus. Then, when God issues His final act of judgement, we will all agree that God is righteous in His judgement.

After church, we had the best Sabbath lunch ever! There was this huge banquet table and every Saved One sat at it. It was heaps-long! The food was delicious. Jesus, the disciples, Adam and Eve, and every other Bible hero, were there. And so was I. WOW! That was an amazing meal and a fantastic Sabbath.

Entry 4 - AA1001, Day 57

Dear Diary,

About two months ago, Jesus and the angels led us back to Earth. As we got close enough to see the Earth, our hearts fell. I thought the Earth would be beautiful after a thousand years without people polluting it’s surface and skies. But the opposite was true. Satan and his evil angels had been left here—with nothing to do and no-one to tempt—and they had destroyed the entire planet. It was a barren wasteland.

After we landed, to our amazement, the entire city of God—The New Jerusalem—broke through Earth’s atmosphere and settled in a freshly prepared spot. We quickly made our way into the city and peered through the gates. We knew evil still encompassed this planet and none of us wanted to go back to living under Satan’s rule.

Once we were all safely in the city, Jesus loudly commanded every person who had ever died to come forth from the grave. For 1000 years, Satan had been on earth with no humans to lead astray. Now they were popping up from the ground everywhere. The agony of defeat felt by the Devil was quickly washed away as he saw the huge army of angry humanity. He called them to himself. He told them he had brought them back to life! And then he pointed to the city of God and shouted, “There is your persecutor! There is our enemy! Prepare for war!”

For the next two months they prepared. They built every war machine you can imagine. Then they attacked. As the screaming massive hoard rushed from every angle toward the city, it looked like there was no chance for us. There were so many of them!

Floating in the air above the city, glowing in majesty and surrounded by angels, Jesus appeared on His huge golden throne. The sudden splendor of the moment brought the massive army to a screeching halt. They stared up at Jesus in awe. Then, between Jesus and the evil army, the sky became a huge movie screen visible from every angle. A gigantic image of Lucifer—Satan before his fall from Heaven—filled the screen. He was beautiful. A murmur of admiration rippled through the crowd. Then, as if someone pressed fast-forward the movie accelerated through history. The Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses...

The huge screen split into a vast array of smaller screens—appearing above the heads of each soldier in the army—as history reached the point when they had lived. Each person saw their part in the epic battle between good and evil. From inside the city the mass of little screens appeared like a mosaic telling one story—the great controversy between God and Satan—spanning the entire history of humanity.

Finally the screens flickered out. The telling had reached the present. Jesus sat on His throne in the deathly silence. No words were needed. The story had been so clearly presented that every person inside and outside of the city knew God was innocent. Satan was guilty of all sin, sadness and death.

The combined realization became a physical thing—erupting into a fireball, sweeping away from the city. Everything evil burned. The longer and more intense the evil of each individual the more intensely they burned. The fireball swept the earth clean and cleansed the atmosphere.

That was yesterday. Today there is no more sin. Death, sickness, sadness and all things evil are a fading memory. There is only God and good. I can’t explain how I feel other than to say: it feels nice... really nice!

Entry 5 - AA1001, Day 62

Dear Diary,

It’s Sabbath again. We have all gathered together to worship the King of Kings—our innocent Saviour, Jesus. What a glorious day! A Sabbath like no other! The judgement is finished.

In His sermon today, Jesus talked about eternity without sin. We had an amazing worship service and just finished lunch. Now, I’m sitting under the Tree of Life with a pen in my hand and eternity in my heart. I’m actually starting to be able to comprehend that word—“eternity.”

I often think about eternity on Sabbath afternoon. For 1013 years I’ve rested on Sabbath. And Jesus promises we will have Sabbath every week throughout eternity. And we will never die! Eternity... It just didn’t make sense, until the judgement was finished. Death made eternity illogical and undesirable. But now—with no death in the world—eternity is wonderful! It’s less about time and more about love.

God is love. God is eternal. Love is eternal. Eternity... I like the thought of it!

The New Earth is growing. It’s so green! And there is so much room. The oceans only take up a tiny fraction of the Earth now. The fire burned so hot, it melted the highest mountains and softened the abrupt angles of the others. The fire also evaporated water from lakes and seas into the sky where it creates a protective layer in the atmosphere creating a global greenhouse. It is green, growing and livable everywhere on the planet!

There are expeditions being planned to explore new lands. Jesus has told us to each find a plot of land we wish to care for and build a country home. So, we will each have a home in the city and in the country! How cool is that? And you can build it out of whatever you want. Why use wood when you can use diamonds, gold or opal? There are going to be some very cool houses!

There are animals everywhere. And they all get along with each other. No more death means things have changed a fair bit! Lions don’t eat lambs, they cuddle with them. Just today I’ve patted a leopard, giraffe, aardvark and a platypus. I love animals! And the animals here on the New Earth love being loved. This is going to be an awesome place to spend eternity.

But, we don’t have to stay here. This is just home base! We can explore distant planets, galaxies and universes. We can all fly like angels now. Actually, we wear a robe of light like them too. Distance and time are not barriers to travel like they were on the old Earth. You can be somewhere nearly as quickly as you can think about going there. It’s kind of like everywhere is connected by the presence of God.

God’s presence is something, even after a thousand years, that I cannot get enough of. Of all the places to explore and people to meet nothing comes close to my desire to know Jesus more!

I can’t wait until next Sabbath—to hear Jesus’ next sermon—and the one after that, and the one after that, and the one after that...

Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

BOOK DAVE NOW! Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way,...