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Joshua climbed upon the stone perimeter that encircled Marah Fountain and turned to face the small crowd that had gathered in the plaza.
“Great change is coming soon,” he began. “Many years ago this town was ruled by the laws of the Creator alone. Peace and justice reigned. Speaking truth was not a crime. But as time passed, your forefathers elected Town Council members who passed laws that were not in harmony with the laws of the Creator. Those laws caused problems, and so more laws were passed to try to correct the inherent discrepancies caused by the previous laws that they had passed.”
The crowd looked at Joshua silently but intently.
“Many of you have forgotten that Cosmos was built upon tribal land with the understanding that the Town Councils in this valley were to be stewards of land owned by the Creator. They were not given ownership of this land, nor were they given the right to pass laws that contradict the nature and will of the Creator. In the original contract—which I have in my hand today—it says that the Creator retains the right to expel anyone who violates His laws. Most of you no longer remember this, because He has allowed this to continue, and He has been patient with you for many generations.
Some of the older people in the crowd seemed to remember dimly, but most looked bewildered. “What are you talking about?” someone asked.
Joshua responded, “In the days of your grandfathers, the Town Council proclaimed that the Creator no longer exists, and they demanded that this lie must be taught in the schools. Their purpose was to usurp ownership of the Creator’s land and to assume the right to create their own laws to suit their own purposes. But I and my friends are here to tell you that the Creator has now proven His existence by fulfilling the prophecy written on this fountain. He has proven it by healing Timaeus, a man who has been blind for his entire life.”
Joshua extended his hand and helped the formerly blind man climb upon the stone ledge for all to see. “All of you have known Timaeus for many years. Many of you have given him alms to help him survive his hard life. But now he can see you and connect your face to the voice that is familiar to him. He was healed by the power of the Creator—certainly by no human skill or craft—and we were sent here to turn your hearts back the Creator.”
“The Creator, then, actually exists?” a voice asked from the crowd. “We heard that even if He did exist, He was dead or that He had departed and left us alone to govern ourselves.”
“He does exist, and all of nature has His fingerprint imprinted upon it. But He is now revealing Himself to you in a new way, for He has chosen to intervene more visibly in the affairs of men. He has come to lay claim to all that He owns by right of creation. We are sent to establish the basic truth that He owns all that He has created, and that He is responsible for its welfare. His purpose for creating the earth will be fulfilled in the end, because He cannot fail to achieve any goal. He has vowed to intervene and to do whatever it takes to make us His people, so that He loses nothing in the end.”
“So what does the Creator wish to tell us? What are we doing wrong?”
“Most of you own property,” Joshua replied, “but you all know that the Town Council claims prior ownership of land, and for this reason, you must pay property taxes. Property taxes are based on the Town Council’s unlawful claim upon the land. So first, acknowledge the Creator as the Owner of all that He has created. Acknowledge His right to rule that which is His. Declare His crown rights over Cosmos, and swear allegiance to Him above all men and above all human governments.” 210
“Second,” he continued, “understand that the Creator has never required property tax, because He does not tax Himself for owning land. In fact, He does not tax labor either, because your labor is your most sacred property right.” 211
“Then how is government to be funded?” a voice questioned.
“The Creator has set up a business relationship with us. He provides us with land and all natural things—things which He labored to create. We produce things from His labor, things that have value—such as food. Or we take His trees and shape them into furniture or houses. Our labor adds value to that which He created. All of our own labor is ours, and any value added to nature is ours. Yet because we use things from nature which He created, He requires a ten percent tax return on His labor.”
“In this business partnership, we are allowed to keep ninety percent of our production as benefit for our labor, but He wants ten percent for His labor. Take your wheat crops, for example. The Creator provides you with land, air, sunlight, and rain, which He labored to create. You use His labor and add your own to plant crops, cultivate them, and then harvest the seed. The Creator lets you keep ninety percent of the produce, while He requires ten percent as a return on His labor. This ten percent return is to be used to support His government—those who recognize His crown rights.” 212
“That is a radical idea,” someone said. “The Town Council would not be happy with that arrangement. They tax everything we own and produce by our labor.”
“That is why you must pay such high prices for goods and services,” Joshua explained. “Most of the cost is due to the hidden taxes, for all taxes on goods and services must ultimately be paid for by the consumers. The seller must serve as a tax collector for the Town Council.”
The people looked at each other in shock. It had never occurred to them that when taxes were raised on labor and on corporations, it only served to raise prices on what they sold and that the people themselves had to pay those taxes when they made purchases. When prices rise through higher taxation, the people find that they can afford less and less. They seem to have plenty of money, but their money has insufficient value to pay the higher cost with all of its hidden taxes.
“You have been tricked,” Joshua continued, “by cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men, who convinced you that by raising taxes on the so-called wealthy, the Town Council would be able to support the poor among you. But as you can see, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. The solution is not to give men the power to tax, but to return to the Creator’s original business arrangement with mankind. He requires only ten percent in tithes as payment for His labor, but men require far more in taxes, whereby they steal a large portion of men’s labor. You have paid a heavy price by denying the Creator His rights and by giving men’s government the right to usurp nature.”
A woman in the crowd suddenly burst forth in tears. “He must be very angry with us! We have denied His existence for a long time, and we have disobeyed His laws for even longer!”
“No,” Joshua told her, holding up his blood-smeared hands, “He is not angry. He is not only your Creator, but also your heavenly Father who loves you. He has been willing to suffer pain rather than to lose you. His patience has proven this. But He has now intervened by healing your town beggar in order to show you the truth and expose the lies that you have been told.”
Joshua paused for a moment before concluding, “The time has come for Cosmos to turn from its rebellious way and to remember the covenant that He made with you at the beginning of time.”
“The Town Council will be disturbed to hear this,” someone murmured. “Such words strike at the very foundations of their power.”
I spoke up. “Yes, no doubt they will be unhappy to lose the power that they have unlawfully usurped,” I said loud enough for the crowd to hear. “But these are momentous times, and much change is coming. The Creator has now intervened in the affairs of men in order to fulfill His New Covenant vow to draw all men to Himself, to be their God, and to make them His people. No doubt the Town Council will be jealous and will oppose the Creator. But you who have ears to hear are given opportunity to restore all things and to return to the place of peace and reconciliation with the Creator and Father of all.”
With that, I drew out my bag of seed and threw tiny seeds into the breeze. The seeds of Elyon swirled through the crowd, alighting upon the ears of all who believed our words. These were instantly begotten by the Great Spirit, and a tree of life began to take root in their hearts.
“Look, the Town Council has come to a decision,” someone said.
We looked in the direction of Council, where they had been discussing Joseph’s case in the street outside of the damaged hall. Someone had fetched a post and was planting it in the ground at the edge of Moon Plaza. Joshua and Timaeus stepped off their perch and made their way through the crowd, and Sipporah and I followed closely behind them, walking toward the Council members.
Law-enforcement officers were setting up a whipping post, obviously intending to give Joseph a beating. The Town Cryer then stepped forth and read a proclamation for the crowd to hear:
“Hear ye! Hear ye! The Town Council has tried and convicted Joseph, son of Joseph, for sedition and crimes against the people. He has subverted the laws of Cosmos and taught rebellion against the lawfully-elected government. He has been sentenced to be beaten in public with ten stripes 213 from the lawfully-established whip. Let all see and fear to break the law, for we are a government of laws. By this sentence, let all know the penalty for sedition.”
With that, Joseph’s hands were tied to the whipping post, and the Executioner of Justice stepped forth with his official whip to restore law and order to the town of Cosmos. “One! Two! Three!” the Cryer called out as each stroke of the whip cracked loudly upon Joseph’s back. Joseph winced in pain with each stroke, but he looked up toward heaven with a look of sheer joy on his face. The sun broke through the clouds and shined upon Joseph’s face. The star in his forehead glowed and then began to shine brighter and brighter, and its beam fell upon all whom Joseph looked upon.
“Four! Five! Six!” the Cryer continued. Crack! Crack! Crack! The sharp sound echoed from one building to another. As Joseph’s flesh was torn by the cruel whip, the crowd expected to see only a generous flow of blood. Instead, however, as the lashes tore his veil of flesh, the inner light of revelation glowed from the cracks in his skin. Joseph had become a living mountain of revelation, and the light emanating from him into the darkness of the Cosmos was the same light of living truth that had cracked the dark void of the universe at the dawn of creation.
The whips had revealed Joseph to be a son of the light—not just him, but all of us who had seen the light. We had become one with the mountain. It was clear now that our own flesh veiled a great light that could became visible if the veil should be torn.
Joseph’s blood flowed out of that light, staining his back and the ground where it dripped. The startled Executioner turned pale and hesitated, looking at the mayor as if to inquire if he should continue. “Don’t stop!” the mayor commanded. “Give him all that he deserves!”
“Seven! Eight! Nine! Ten!” the Cryer continued counting. Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack! The Executioner’s face looked pained, and his hand trembled as he continued the beating. The moment the full sentence had been accomplished, the Executioner rushed toward Joseph with tears in his eyes and released his hands from their bonds. He caught Joseph before his knees buckled and said, “I’m so sorry. They made me do this.”
Joseph looked into his eyes, smiled slightly, and whispered, “I forgive you. This too will bring glory to the Creator. Do not fear. All things work together for good.” 214
By this time the light from Joseph’s back was visible to the entire crowd, and a murmur began to sweep through their midst. Sensing the crowd’s growing anger and disgust, the mayor turned pale, and the Council members stepped back, not sure how to control the situation. But the mayor quickly composed himself and turned to the Town Cryer. “Read the rest of the decree!” he demanded.
The Cryer hesitated for a moment, cleared his throat, and spoke with a quavering voice: “You are never again to speak sedition against the Town Council, and you will refrain from promoting ideas that undermine our lawful authority!”
Joseph then answered clearly and deliberately: “Whether it is right in the sight of the Creator to give heed to you rather than to Him, you be the judge, for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.” 215
“If you dare to do so,” the mayor threatened, “you will face a worse fate than this. We have been merciful to you this time, giving you only ten stripes. Next time we will not be so kind.”
With that, the mayor turned and walked away, and the Council members followed obediently.
“Whatever you do to me,” Joseph said softly, “you can only reveal the glory of the Creator.”
The Cryer dropped his paper decree, and the crowd rushed toward Joseph, amazed at his courage and awed by the bright light which still shined from the cracks in his back.
“I will bring him to the clinic,” the Executioner told the restless crowd, “and I will pay all of his expenses.” 216
“Before we go,” Joseph said, “let me tell all of you that the Creator has made a way for all of you to receive His light. A new day is dawning, in which His love is being manifested in us. The light that you see in me will be seen in all of you. The Town Council members will fight the Creator, because they do not want to release that which they have usurped. In times past they were granted the ability to kill us. But now they cannot kill us, for their time has passed. The witness of truth will yet be opposed, but in the end it will prevail, because its time has come.”
As Joseph was carried away to the clinic, I again threw seeds into the wind, and many more lodged in open ears. An exceptional seed among them flew to the ear of the Executioner, 217 taking root in the ear of his heart that was to grow into a beautiful and fruitful tree.