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The Second Promised Land

THE SECOND PROMISED LAND

(PATHFINDER)
By Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen ______________________________________

This pathfinder book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are figments of the authors’ imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen

THE SECOND PROMISED LAND

The nine-year-old boy took the old book from the shelf and walked to the oak table at the far end of the reading room. He blew the dust off the cover and watched as it sparkled in the sunlight. He sat with his back to the window, opened the book and began to read,

‘This is a tale you have never heard before, but it is true, at least true as far as I know. I have been dead for over 3000 years.’

The boy shivered as the thought of a dead man talking to him suddenly became true. He considered whether he should return the old book to its resting place and choose another. The New York City Library held all the wonders of the world available to anyone for free.
He decided to read on,

‘One day long after I am dead, the world will be in mortal danger. A world war will beckon and all human life will be extinct unless the Four Corners are returned to the Tablet. Let us start where it all began,’

The boy turned the page and continued reading,

‘1341 B.C. in Sinai by the Sea, Judea

Moses is 50. As can be expected, he is dressed in Biblical garb and has long wavy red hair and a full beard. Size counts, like it always has. A great big bull

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of a man, he is at least a head taller than everyone else, and with his massive shoulders and broad back, he casts an imposing shadow on the diminutive Rabbis staring up at him from the edge of the Red Sea. Standing on a rock jutting up from the beach, with the setting sun flooding his massive jaw and prominent cheek bones, Moses’ deep-set eyes float imperiously above his followers who have gathered to hear him speak. As for the Rabbis who report to him and control Moses’ flock, in comparison they are all only insignificant silhouettes blending into the Red Sea behind them. Moses’ voice is deep and gravelly and is automatically amplified by the rocks behind him:

“Oh, Children of Israel, never forget how blessed we have been! With nowhere to go but into the sea to be drowned, and with the Pharaohs’ henchmen close on our heels, we refused to kowtow and put our Faith in the Lord. Faith is the key word, All My Children, for with Faith, one can do anything! Accordingly, Our Lord responded with a miracle. As we advanced into the water, the Red Sea parted, but as our enemies and slave keepers were tracking us relentlessly from behind, the Red Sea came back together; after our last man took the path of Faith, the Red Sea crushed our pursuers in our wake.

And now, here we are, relatively safe and sound for the time being, whereas our Egyptian evil doers have drowned. I do not say this to gloat, nor should you! No, I say this to remind you that we have made it here to Sinai because it was God’s will, and only God’s will that made it so! And I also say ‘relatively safe’ because we’ll never know what the Lord has in store for us and what

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Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen

the future will bring. Never forget that we thought we had it good in Egypt and our generations stayed there for four hundred years but things changed and look what happened! And do not be deceived by the similar Mediterranean climate we have here in Sinai. We have to always be on our guards because even though we appear to be better off here, this may in fact be a test, a lure, to see if we become complacent and slothful…but enough of this! My message to you is: I want you all to become strong, yet peaceful.

If we are lucky, we will be able to stock up on supplies, feed our horses and animals and live a peaceful life for some time but we must always be prepared to leave if the Lord tells us to. Let us set up our encampment but remember that there are warring tribes everywhere wanting what we have, desirous of going where we will go and jealous of what we have accomplished! Sinai will have to pass the test of time; we will have to explore the area and see if there are hostile tribes who feel that this land is their land and not that of the Lord’s.

We are the Children of Israel! We are the Children of the Lord! Right now, we number around four thousand and it is imperative that we find a place where we can put down roots, flourish and multiply in an equal Mediterranean climate to that of Egypt. Maybe we have found that place. Right here!! But maybe not! I promise to use my closeness to God to find the Lord and speak to Him personally!”

With his deep baritone voice still echoing off the stone, Moses turns his back on the Children of Israel and spreads his arms out, his enormous wingspan casting a

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huge shadow on the white rock of Mount Sinai in front of him, almost like that of a gigantic eagle sweeping down from the Heavens to roost. He remains like that for one minute, arms outspread, imperious. But in the manner of a great man who knows when to make himself humble, Moses now kneels down and bows down to the rock. There is a moment of rustling and coughing while all the Children of Israel follow suit and kneel down, too. After a dramatic moment of silence, Moses’ voice blasts out again,

“Oh Lord, what shalt Thou have me do!?”

And out of nowhere–the sky being a bright blue with not a cloud in the sky—a tremendous thunder clap sounds from way atop Mount Sinai. And suddenly, the sky turns black and a torrential rain pours down. Moses rises, and with water now dripping off his long hair and down his face, turns around to his followers who are still kneeling. He gestures dramatically to the top of Mount Sinai:

“Arise, Children of Israel! The Lord has spoken. And I know what I must do!”

The next day at dawn, while everyone is still asleep, Moses starts his way up Mount Sinai. He winds his way around olive and eucalyptus trees at the lower levels through the increasingly sparse vegetation at the higher levels. Having brought only enough water for the trip up and back down, Moses is feverish when he finally reaches the top where the thunder clap had rung out the day before. He rests in the shadow of a rock during the mid-afternoon and meditates to prepare himself to meet the Lord that night.

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Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen

After several hours of meditation, Moses feels faint. He picks up his gaunt body and gathers some wild berries nearby. Frenetically eating these and taking one more sip of water, he looks back at the clearing to see a bush he hadn’t noticed before. And it is smoking. Suddenly, the weather has become very warm and the sky, pitch black. The bush is now on fire and a voice emanates from within the Bush which Moses recognizes as being the Voice of the Lord. Moses is surprised as he had been expecting God to appear before him as the ghostly spirit of a man, and he is chilled to the bone by this ethereally unnatural, deep crackly voice:

“Oh Moses, My Son, ‘Israel’ means both ‘he who fights alongside God’ and ‘God is strong; God will triumph.’ And you, the Leader and Prophet of the Children of Israel, who have fought for Me and alongside Me, you recognize that I am your All Powerful God and Protector and that I will triumph over all manner of Adversity and the Devil. I am also a Jealous and Vengeful God, and I put my people ahead of all others in the Great Big Wonderful World that I have created.

And as I am aware of the future, I know that you and the Children of Israel are going to have a very hard go of it. But despite adversity, you and your descendants will prosper and multiply if you obey Me and do what I say. Will you obey Me?!”

Moses lifts his large frame up and bows down to the Burning Bush and the Lord.

“I will, My Lord.”

In response, the Burning Bush flickers, flames shoot up and God’s voice roars out even louder,

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“Go east, Old Man! Go east for many moons if you want to protect your people forever down the line. Go east for as far as you can go and follow the rising sun to find the true Promised Land which I have set aside for you and which can be found many leagues and moons from the Sinai and ultimately across a ‘Great Sea’. You will know when you have arrived because the currents will take you there and that Beautiful Land will resemble this one, but for one difference: it will be six times larger and yours alone. Once in the Promised Land, know that it is a large peninsula and you must explore the perimeter of it from west to south to east for the north side is dry desert. But to get to the Promised Land itself, remember ‘east’, always east.

You will have to caravan through deserts, hop from one island to another along a coastal route, as well as cross a Great Sea for three full moons. You will also have to follow easterly currents but eventually you will arrive in a Land of ‘Milk & Honey’. That is your Promised Land. Do you understand?!”

“I do, my Lord.”

“Moses, My Son, I know you will be strong, but you will also need help from the Children of Israel. You must choose your leaders from amongst your most stalwart followers.

Moses listens and promises to do as he’s told, but as a law maker and politician/prophet, he tells God that it is inconceivable he take all his people along with him. With what they have already suffered, he notes, they would rebel. As the Great Facilitator He is, God points out that he never intended for Moses to take all of his four thousand followers but only about two hundred of

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Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen

them, of which one third will be his valiant soldiers, and the other two thirds their wives and children.

As for the others, God points out that the Land of Canaan is a large and luxurious oasis north of the desert of Sinai and this will serve as a ‘temporary’ home for those ill-inclined or not able to travel for a long distance, a temporary ‘Promised Land’, as it were. God reminds Moses yet again that wherever His Children go, there will be danger and suffering. Noblesse oblige; they are the Chosen Ones, and that’s the way it is. It will not be easy to cross the Sinai desert towards Canaan and Moses will have to find a second-in-command to lead them as well.

“[And I] will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and even upon her assemblies, a cloud of smoke by day, and the shining of a Burning fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defense,” says the Lord.1 “Remember, Moses, I shall always be at your side, to guide you and Our People, wherever you shall be.”

With a great roar, enormous flames envelop the Burning Bush and cast an eerie light on Moses who is dripping wet in the supernatural heat. Suddenly, the Burning Bush disappears, the temperature returns to normal and the first light of morning appears in the east. God has taken His leave of Moses, and in His place is a heavy stone Tablet emblazoned with the Ten Commandments that Moses is to carry down the Mount. Moses shivers and looks around, does not see God and picks up the Tablet with a great deal of effort. It is strangely heavy and cold, as if it had never been stuck in

1 Isaiah 4:5, King James Version

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The Second Promised Land

the Burning Bush. It is of blue sapphire stone2 and numbered with the first ten letters of the Hebrew Alphabet or 1-10 in our number system. He studies the engraved text and realizes what he must do. During the next several hours, he makes his way down gingerly to the bottom of the Mount with the Tablet on his shoulder.

The boy was suddenly aware of two old men arguing as they stood at the entrance to the reading room.

“Look, dimwit, there’s going to be war in the Middle East. Yeah, a goddamn nuclear war.”

“It’ll never get to that stage. It’s all threat and bluster. Those guys in charge in Iran don’t really want war.”

“Bullshit! Nobody wanted the First World War in 1914. But they got it anyway, didn’t they?”

“Yes, but the Israelis aren’t stupid.”

“Look, no one’s stupid out there. But wars happen. It’s human nature.”

The boy tried to block out the argument the way he blocked out the traffic noise coming from the street below, but his thoughts wandered back to the argument.

“If it’s nuclear war, the whole world will get dragged in. It’ll be the end of the human race. We’ll be extinct.”

The boy placed his hands over his ears and rapidly slapped his palms against his ears. The sound

2 Lapis lazuli

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Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen

they made deadened any exterior noises and voices. He had developed this method from years of trying to read in public libraries,

‘From a distance, he hears his ‘Chosen Ones’ making a great deal of noise. He realizes he’s been gone a long time, but when he turns round a bend in the trail and trudges down to the clearing below, he sees them blasphemously hollering and worshipping a Golden Calf rather than himself or the Lord and he is furious:

“Oh you of little faith! How can you forget me as well as the Lord, Thy God!?” he roars. With all his might, Moses casts the Tablet at the Golden Calf, breaking the stone in half and the Calf to pieces.

You do not deserve everything I and the Lord have done for you! We have put so much faith in you but you have put no trust in us!” He scowls with fury and impatience at the weakness of his people. Suddenly, he realizes that they are only mortal like he is, that they make mistakes and that he must trust them just as he is asking them to trust him.

“However, I am willing to give you another chance. I will leave you yet again to consult with the Lord and hope that you will dispose of this Golden Calf and repair the Tablet. Ponder and reflect upon what I have told you, change your evil ways and I will return in seven days and seven nights at the latest or whenever I will have been able to make contact with the Lord, Our God.”

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Moses then turns away from his flock of followers and goes back up the hill. Having been so angry with his disciples, he does not stop to bathe or eat but instead, takes to the mountain trail immediately. When he finally arrives several hours later at the clearing, he is delirious with hunger and thirst, and, just like before, God appears once again as a Burning Bush. God first scolds Moses and tells him that he must control himself and be patient with his people. He shouldn’t be throwing Tablets around just because his Children lack faith.
They will have to learn to have faith just as Moses has. Moses should trust in all His Children and let them keep their Repaired Ten Commandments Tablet safe.

God tells Moses to make Joshua, the son of Nun, as well as Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, his right-hand men, and to put them in charge of the Repaired Tablet. Then He gives him another stone Tablet, equal to the first but much lighter, with the same Ten Commandments engraved upon it as well as the added inscription: ‘This Tablet lies in the Promised Land of the Children of Israel’.

“Oh Moses, bury this Tablet in the Promised Land where I show you. But before you leave, have Joshua and Caleb break off the corners of this new Tablet and keep these corners in a safe place. The corners will have to be placed in the Ark of the Covenant, an earthen vessel, and they will serve as a constant reminder of the covenant relationship between you, the Children of Israel and Me. I want the matching corners to be proof of your having gone to and come back from the Promised Land. When, thanks to the map, the de-cornered Tablet is found by your descendants, this

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Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen

cornerless proof will be equivalent to a Proof of Property to the land where it is found. This Land— inviolate and pure—will in turn ensure the security of My People throughout the generations and will be known as ‘The Promised Land’.”

“Be certain to slaughter a local animal—an animal you have a special attachment to for otherwise it would not be a sacrifice–and erect a guide post dipped in its blood next to the burial site of the Tablet. When you return from the Promised Land, bury this map with the Four Corners in Zion. Only with the map will you— and more importantly, your descendants–be able to locate the de-cornered Tablet which will prove that you, Oh Moses, you were there first, that you and Your Holy People have first rights to the Promised Land that I do bequeath to you.”

When Moses returns the next day to the bottom of the Mount, he finds his trusted Rabbis and Elders gathered round the now-repaired first Tablet. Order and decorum are the order of the day. The Rabbis quickly gather the Children of Israel round to listen to Moses. Moses delivers what comes to be known as the real Sermon on the Mount:

“Oh, Children of Israel, I have seen God through a Burning Bush and He has told me that we are all the Chosen Ones and for us there is a true Promised Land many moons from here and over a ‘Great Sea’; however, there is also a large oasis just across the Sinai desert called the Land of Canaan for the majority of you that He has chosen to stay. For only some of you, it will be up to you to choose which way you want to go.

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However, for those who are weak, infirm and old, you have no choice and will have to stay and do what my right-hand men, Joshua and Caleb, tell you to. For a few of you who are able-bodied, I will follow God’s will and lead you to our new Promised Land. However, Children of Israel know that both journeys—to the Land of Canaan or the Promised Land—will both be fraught with danger.”

“Why does God have trouble with this land right here, and if so, why don’t we all go to Canaan together and make that our Promised Land instead of splitting up? Why must you go far away with a chosen few?” the spokesman for a group of trouble-makers cries out, breaking the decorum.

“Do not simmer in your Blasphemy like you did with the Golden Calf,” Moses replies.

“We do not choose the Promised Land, God does. God doesn’t have any problem with most of our people going to Canaan but God also works in strange ways and in our best interests,” Moses chides.

“God feels we need to reach the Promised Land to assure our future as a race. Only there will our people be truly safe for generations to come.”

Moses hand-picked about two hundred of his most courageous men, women and their children to accompany him to the Promised Land; the others were to remain behind and find Canaan.

After a vote and much discussion, a time table was made up for equally valiant warriors Joshua and Caleb to lead the huge ‘Canaan’ team and make their way through the Sinai desert and arrive in Canaan.

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Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen

They were to take strict care of the first (repaired) Tablet upon which were written the Ten Commandments and were to always keep it visible in the Ark of the Covenant for consultation by the rest of the tribe. This Tablet, which was prepared by God and consecrated by über leader Moses in His Name, would help Joshua and Caleb maintain order while their prophet Moses was gone. As for The Four Corners, they were to be kept hidden in the bottom of the Ark of the Covenant.

In a great ceremony, Moses then instructed Caleb and Joshua to carefully break off the Four Corners from the new Tablet number them and put the pieces in the bottom of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was to be buried either in Canaan or Sinai–or wherever the “Canaan” team made it to–so that the corners could be matched up with the ‘de-cornered’ Tablet if there ever was need to in the future by their descendants.

As for Moses, the next day he gathered his troops, followed God and started off on his journey—due east–towards the true Promised Land. They would continue to receive inspiration from the Burning Fire by night and follow the Cloud of Smoke by day. To start with, and from what God indicated, they would always be on their guard and make their way through Babylon; then, they would trek in a South Easterly direction towards the top of the Gulf of Persia, along the sea route through Persia and on to India, and see how long they would be able to live peacefully without running afoul of other tribes.’

 

The Second Promised Land

THE SECOND PROMISED LAND

(PATHFINDER)
By Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen ______________________________________

This pathfinder book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are figments of the authors’ imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen

THE SECOND PROMISED LAND

The nine-year-old boy took the old book from the shelf and walked to the oak table at the far end of the reading room. He blew the dust off the cover and watched as it sparkled in the sunlight. He sat with his back to the window, opened the book and began to read,

‘This is a tale you have never heard before, but it is true, at least true as far as I know. I have been dead for over 3000 years.’

The boy shivered as the thought of a dead man talking to him suddenly became true. He considered whether he should return the old book to its resting place and choose another. The New York City Library held all the wonders of the world available to anyone for free.
He decided to read on,

‘One day long after I am dead, the world will be in mortal danger. A world war will beckon and all human life will be extinct unless the Four Corners are returned to the Tablet. Let us start where it all began,’

The boy turned the page and continued reading,

‘1341 B.C. in Sinai by the Sea, Judea

Moses is 50. As can be expected, he is dressed in Biblical garb and has long wavy red hair and a full beard. Size counts, like it always has. A great big bull

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of a man, he is at least a head taller than everyone else, and with his massive shoulders and broad back, he casts an imposing shadow on the diminutive Rabbis staring up at him from the edge of the Red Sea. Standing on a rock jutting up from the beach, with the setting sun flooding his massive jaw and prominent cheek bones, Moses’ deep-set eyes float imperiously above his followers who have gathered to hear him speak. As for the Rabbis who report to him and control Moses’ flock, in comparison they are all only insignificant silhouettes blending into the Red Sea behind them. Moses’ voice is deep and gravelly and is automatically amplified by the rocks behind him:

“Oh, Children of Israel, never forget how blessed we have been! With nowhere to go but into the sea to be drowned, and with the Pharaohs’ henchmen close on our heels, we refused to kowtow and put our Faith in the Lord. Faith is the key word, All My Children, for with Faith, one can do anything! Accordingly, Our Lord responded with a miracle. As we advanced into the water, the Red Sea parted, but as our enemies and slave keepers were tracking us relentlessly from behind, the Red Sea came back together; after our last man took the path of Faith, the Red Sea crushed our pursuers in our wake.

And now, here we are, relatively safe and sound for the time being, whereas our Egyptian evil doers have drowned. I do not say this to gloat, nor should you! No, I say this to remind you that we have made it here to Sinai because it was God’s will, and only God’s will that made it so! And I also say ‘relatively safe’ because we’ll never know what the Lord has in store for us and what

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Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen

the future will bring. Never forget that we thought we had it good in Egypt and our generations stayed there for four hundred years but things changed and look what happened! And do not be deceived by the similar Mediterranean climate we have here in Sinai. We have to always be on our guards because even though we appear to be better off here, this may in fact be a test, a lure, to see if we become complacent and slothful…but enough of this! My message to you is: I want you all to become strong, yet peaceful.

If we are lucky, we will be able to stock up on supplies, feed our horses and animals and live a peaceful life for some time but we must always be prepared to leave if the Lord tells us to. Let us set up our encampment but remember that there are warring tribes everywhere wanting what we have, desirous of going where we will go and jealous of what we have accomplished! Sinai will have to pass the test of time; we will have to explore the area and see if there are hostile tribes who feel that this land is their land and not that of the Lord’s.

We are the Children of Israel! We are the Children of the Lord! Right now, we number around four thousand and it is imperative that we find a place where we can put down roots, flourish and multiply in an equal Mediterranean climate to that of Egypt. Maybe we have found that place. Right here!! But maybe not! I promise to use my closeness to God to find the Lord and speak to Him personally!”

With his deep baritone voice still echoing off the stone, Moses turns his back on the Children of Israel and spreads his arms out, his enormous wingspan casting a

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huge shadow on the white rock of Mount Sinai in front of him, almost like that of a gigantic eagle sweeping down from the Heavens to roost. He remains like that for one minute, arms outspread, imperious. But in the manner of a great man who knows when to make himself humble, Moses now kneels down and bows down to the rock. There is a moment of rustling and coughing while all the Children of Israel follow suit and kneel down, too. After a dramatic moment of silence, Moses’ voice blasts out again,

“Oh Lord, what shalt Thou have me do!?”

And out of nowhere–the sky being a bright blue with not a cloud in the sky—a tremendous thunder clap sounds from way atop Mount Sinai. And suddenly, the sky turns black and a torrential rain pours down. Moses rises, and with water now dripping off his long hair and down his face, turns around to his followers who are still kneeling. He gestures dramatically to the top of Mount Sinai:

“Arise, Children of Israel! The Lord has spoken. And I know what I must do!”

The next day at dawn, while everyone is still asleep, Moses starts his way up Mount Sinai. He winds his way around olive and eucalyptus trees at the lower levels through the increasingly sparse vegetation at the higher levels. Having brought only enough water for the trip up and back down, Moses is feverish when he finally reaches the top where the thunder clap had rung out the day before. He rests in the shadow of a rock during the mid-afternoon and meditates to prepare himself to meet the Lord that night.

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Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen

After several hours of meditation, Moses feels faint. He picks up his gaunt body and gathers some wild berries nearby. Frenetically eating these and taking one more sip of water, he looks back at the clearing to see a bush he hadn’t noticed before. And it is smoking. Suddenly, the weather has become very warm and the sky, pitch black. The bush is now on fire and a voice emanates from within the Bush which Moses recognizes as being the Voice of the Lord. Moses is surprised as he had been expecting God to appear before him as the ghostly spirit of a man, and he is chilled to the bone by this ethereally unnatural, deep crackly voice:

“Oh Moses, My Son, ‘Israel’ means both ‘he who fights alongside God’ and ‘God is strong; God will triumph.’ And you, the Leader and Prophet of the Children of Israel, who have fought for Me and alongside Me, you recognize that I am your All Powerful God and Protector and that I will triumph over all manner of Adversity and the Devil. I am also a Jealous and Vengeful God, and I put my people ahead of all others in the Great Big Wonderful World that I have created.

And as I am aware of the future, I know that you and the Children of Israel are going to have a very hard go of it. But despite adversity, you and your descendants will prosper and multiply if you obey Me and do what I say. Will you obey Me?!”

Moses lifts his large frame up and bows down to the Burning Bush and the Lord.

“I will, My Lord.”

In response, the Burning Bush flickers, flames shoot up and God’s voice roars out even louder,

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“Go east, Old Man! Go east for many moons if you want to protect your people forever down the line. Go east for as far as you can go and follow the rising sun to find the true Promised Land which I have set aside for you and which can be found many leagues and moons from the Sinai and ultimately across a ‘Great Sea’. You will know when you have arrived because the currents will take you there and that Beautiful Land will resemble this one, but for one difference: it will be six times larger and yours alone. Once in the Promised Land, know that it is a large peninsula and you must explore the perimeter of it from west to south to east for the north side is dry desert. But to get to the Promised Land itself, remember ‘east’, always east.

You will have to caravan through deserts, hop from one island to another along a coastal route, as well as cross a Great Sea for three full moons. You will also have to follow easterly currents but eventually you will arrive in a Land of ‘Milk & Honey’. That is your Promised Land. Do you understand?!”

“I do, my Lord.”

“Moses, My Son, I know you will be strong, but you will also need help from the Children of Israel. You must choose your leaders from amongst your most stalwart followers.

Moses listens and promises to do as he’s told, but as a law maker and politician/prophet, he tells God that it is inconceivable he take all his people along with him. With what they have already suffered, he notes, they would rebel. As the Great Facilitator He is, God points out that he never intended for Moses to take all of his four thousand followers but only about two hundred of

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Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen

them, of which one third will be his valiant soldiers, and the other two thirds their wives and children.

As for the others, God points out that the Land of Canaan is a large and luxurious oasis north of the desert of Sinai and this will serve as a ‘temporary’ home for those ill-inclined or not able to travel for a long distance, a temporary ‘Promised Land’, as it were. God reminds Moses yet again that wherever His Children go, there will be danger and suffering. Noblesse oblige; they are the Chosen Ones, and that’s the way it is. It will not be easy to cross the Sinai desert towards Canaan and Moses will have to find a second-in-command to lead them as well.

“[And I] will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and even upon her assemblies, a cloud of smoke by day, and the shining of a Burning fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defense,” says the Lord.1 “Remember, Moses, I shall always be at your side, to guide you and Our People, wherever you shall be.”

With a great roar, enormous flames envelop the Burning Bush and cast an eerie light on Moses who is dripping wet in the supernatural heat. Suddenly, the Burning Bush disappears, the temperature returns to normal and the first light of morning appears in the east. God has taken His leave of Moses, and in His place is a heavy stone Tablet emblazoned with the Ten Commandments that Moses is to carry down the Mount. Moses shivers and looks around, does not see God and picks up the Tablet with a great deal of effort. It is strangely heavy and cold, as if it had never been stuck in

1 Isaiah 4:5, King James Version

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the Burning Bush. It is of blue sapphire stone2 and numbered with the first ten letters of the Hebrew Alphabet or 1-10 in our number system. He studies the engraved text and realizes what he must do. During the next several hours, he makes his way down gingerly to the bottom of the Mount with the Tablet on his shoulder.

The boy was suddenly aware of two old men arguing as they stood at the entrance to the reading room.

“Look, dimwit, there’s going to be war in the Middle East. Yeah, a goddamn nuclear war.”

“It’ll never get to that stage. It’s all threat and bluster. Those guys in charge in Iran don’t really want war.”

“Bullshit! Nobody wanted the First World War in 1914. But they got it anyway, didn’t they?”

“Yes, but the Israelis aren’t stupid.”

“Look, no one’s stupid out there. But wars happen. It’s human nature.”

The boy tried to block out the argument the way he blocked out the traffic noise coming from the street below, but his thoughts wandered back to the argument.

“If it’s nuclear war, the whole world will get dragged in. It’ll be the end of the human race. We’ll be extinct.”

The boy placed his hands over his ears and rapidly slapped his palms against his ears. The sound

2 Lapis lazuli

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Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen

they made deadened any exterior noises and voices. He had developed this method from years of trying to read in public libraries,

‘From a distance, he hears his ‘Chosen Ones’ making a great deal of noise. He realizes he’s been gone a long time, but when he turns round a bend in the trail and trudges down to the clearing below, he sees them blasphemously hollering and worshipping a Golden Calf rather than himself or the Lord and he is furious:

“Oh you of little faith! How can you forget me as well as the Lord, Thy God!?” he roars. With all his might, Moses casts the Tablet at the Golden Calf, breaking the stone in half and the Calf to pieces.

You do not deserve everything I and the Lord have done for you! We have put so much faith in you but you have put no trust in us!” He scowls with fury and impatience at the weakness of his people. Suddenly, he realizes that they are only mortal like he is, that they make mistakes and that he must trust them just as he is asking them to trust him.

“However, I am willing to give you another chance. I will leave you yet again to consult with the Lord and hope that you will dispose of this Golden Calf and repair the Tablet. Ponder and reflect upon what I have told you, change your evil ways and I will return in seven days and seven nights at the latest or whenever I will have been able to make contact with the Lord, Our God.”

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The Second Promised Land

Moses then turns away from his flock of followers and goes back up the hill. Having been so angry with his disciples, he does not stop to bathe or eat but instead, takes to the mountain trail immediately. When he finally arrives several hours later at the clearing, he is delirious with hunger and thirst, and, just like before, God appears once again as a Burning Bush. God first scolds Moses and tells him that he must control himself and be patient with his people. He shouldn’t be throwing Tablets around just because his Children lack faith.
They will have to learn to have faith just as Moses has. Moses should trust in all His Children and let them keep their Repaired Ten Commandments Tablet safe.

God tells Moses to make Joshua, the son of Nun, as well as Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, his right-hand men, and to put them in charge of the Repaired Tablet. Then He gives him another stone Tablet, equal to the first but much lighter, with the same Ten Commandments engraved upon it as well as the added inscription: ‘This Tablet lies in the Promised Land of the Children of Israel’.

“Oh Moses, bury this Tablet in the Promised Land where I show you. But before you leave, have Joshua and Caleb break off the corners of this new Tablet and keep these corners in a safe place. The corners will have to be placed in the Ark of the Covenant, an earthen vessel, and they will serve as a constant reminder of the covenant relationship between you, the Children of Israel and Me. I want the matching corners to be proof of your having gone to and come back from the Promised Land. When, thanks to the map, the de-cornered Tablet is found by your descendants, this

11

Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen

cornerless proof will be equivalent to a Proof of Property to the land where it is found. This Land— inviolate and pure—will in turn ensure the security of My People throughout the generations and will be known as ‘The Promised Land’.”

“Be certain to slaughter a local animal—an animal you have a special attachment to for otherwise it would not be a sacrifice–and erect a guide post dipped in its blood next to the burial site of the Tablet. When you return from the Promised Land, bury this map with the Four Corners in Zion. Only with the map will you— and more importantly, your descendants–be able to locate the de-cornered Tablet which will prove that you, Oh Moses, you were there first, that you and Your Holy People have first rights to the Promised Land that I do bequeath to you.”

When Moses returns the next day to the bottom of the Mount, he finds his trusted Rabbis and Elders gathered round the now-repaired first Tablet. Order and decorum are the order of the day. The Rabbis quickly gather the Children of Israel round to listen to Moses. Moses delivers what comes to be known as the real Sermon on the Mount:

“Oh, Children of Israel, I have seen God through a Burning Bush and He has told me that we are all the Chosen Ones and for us there is a true Promised Land many moons from here and over a ‘Great Sea’; however, there is also a large oasis just across the Sinai desert called the Land of Canaan for the majority of you that He has chosen to stay. For only some of you, it will be up to you to choose which way you want to go.

12

The Second Promised Land

However, for those who are weak, infirm and old, you have no choice and will have to stay and do what my right-hand men, Joshua and Caleb, tell you to. For a few of you who are able-bodied, I will follow God’s will and lead you to our new Promised Land. However, Children of Israel know that both journeys—to the Land of Canaan or the Promised Land—will both be fraught with danger.”

“Why does God have trouble with this land right here, and if so, why don’t we all go to Canaan together and make that our Promised Land instead of splitting up? Why must you go far away with a chosen few?” the spokesman for a group of trouble-makers cries out, breaking the decorum.

“Do not simmer in your Blasphemy like you did with the Golden Calf,” Moses replies.

“We do not choose the Promised Land, God does. God doesn’t have any problem with most of our people going to Canaan but God also works in strange ways and in our best interests,” Moses chides.

“God feels we need to reach the Promised Land to assure our future as a race. Only there will our people be truly safe for generations to come.”

Moses hand-picked about two hundred of his most courageous men, women and their children to accompany him to the Promised Land; the others were to remain behind and find Canaan.

After a vote and much discussion, a time table was made up for equally valiant warriors Joshua and Caleb to lead the huge ‘Canaan’ team and make their way through the Sinai desert and arrive in Canaan.

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Richard Bonte, with James Crew Allen

They were to take strict care of the first (repaired) Tablet upon which were written the Ten Commandments and were to always keep it visible in the Ark of the Covenant for consultation by the rest of the tribe. This Tablet, which was prepared by God and consecrated by über leader Moses in His Name, would help Joshua and Caleb maintain order while their prophet Moses was gone. As for The Four Corners, they were to be kept hidden in the bottom of the Ark of the Covenant.

In a great ceremony, Moses then instructed Caleb and Joshua to carefully break off the Four Corners from the new Tablet number them and put the pieces in the bottom of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was to be buried either in Canaan or Sinai–or wherever the “Canaan” team made it to–so that the corners could be matched up with the ‘de-cornered’ Tablet if there ever was need to in the future by their descendants.

As for Moses, the next day he gathered his troops, followed God and started off on his journey—due east–towards the true Promised Land. They would continue to receive inspiration from the Burning Fire by night and follow the Cloud of Smoke by day. To start with, and from what God indicated, they would always be on their guard and make their way through Babylon; then, they would trek in a South Easterly direction towards the top of the Gulf of Persia, along the sea route through Persia and on to India, and see how long they would be able to live peacefully without running afoul of other tribes.’

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