Once all twenty-four cards are in their place and the board is completely covered, it rotates and begins to dim. The tabletop slides open beneath it, the game board descends, and the tabletop closes.
The Golden Tablets move into the center of the table in place of the game board. The pale gold begins to sparkle. The chiseled agreement will govern the final chapter of mankind’s years of Earth. There are eleven more subsets of the contract between Almighty and Lucie. This one is entitled, The Ten Rules of Lucifer’s Reign. It is the only subset being reviewed today.
The sheer power of this moment catches Lucie by surprise. Her body shakes. Chills run from the base of her spine to the top of her head. She feels both weak and powerful at the same time. Fear is overtaking her logic. Suddenly, erratic scenarios run through her mind of what could go wrong. What if Almighty changes his mind about allowing me to reign? What if he destroys me, gathers together the entire human race, and takes them to another galaxy to start over? What if he is moved by his great love for man and decides not to force him to go through the Tribulation?
Almighty seems to know exactly what she’s thinking. “Ten Rules that will govern your reign.”
“Tell me ‘Almighty,’ why have you chosen to keep all of this from man? You have hidden the details of the Great Game. Why did you stop John from including this storyline in Revelation? He was told to keep hidden what the Seven Thunders told him. Why?”
“It is simple. Man is not prepared to understand all of my ways. He cannot appreciate the purpose of pain in his life, nor can he appreciate the sense of vulnerability that drives his fear. In time, all will be made right.”
Lucie sits up on the edge of her throne, hoping to cover her doubt and fear. She pulls the Golden Tablets close and begins to read the Ten Rules aloud:
Rule 1: The time of Lucifer’s reign on Earth shall be exactly seven years—2,555 Earth days. It is agreed no time can be added to, or removed from, the set amount. On day 2,555, Almighty shall end the Tribulation period, and restore his reign.
Rule 2: During the Tribulation period, Lucifer shall have power over the entire Earth, including animals, sea life, plants, vegetation, disease and illness, man-made disasters, governments, weapons, and religions. She shall have power over the humans who have thought.
Rule 3: Lucifer shall have limited forces. She cannot use the human souls held in Hades to assist her in waging battle on Earth during the Tribulation years. Her total forces cannot exceed her four billion demons.
Rule 4: Lucifer cannot interfere with the communication from any man reaching out to Almighty in this time. She maintains her power over man’s body but cannot interfere with his soul.
Rule 5: Lucifer cannot interfere with the Rapture of the Church, which will happen exactly three and a half years into her reign. Almighty will call his followers home in a blink of an eye. All demons must stand down and all satanic activity must cease for a period of one hour after Almighty’s followers rise into the Heavens.
Rule 6: Lucifer is confined to Planet Earth during the Tribulation. She cannot leave the galaxy. She cannot invite any powers or civilizations from other galaxies to assist her with the battle against man.
Rule 7: Lucifer cannot silence the voice of resistance that will rise on Earth during the first half of the Tribulation. The people shall be free to express their faith in Almighty. This restraint shall be lifted in the second half of the seven years.
Rule 8: Lucifer and her armies cannot destroy the Temple in Jerusalem, including the Holy of Holies and the altars of sacrifice. She cannot destroy the Rock of the Dome, or the tunnels and religious artifacts in and around the Temple.
Rule 9: On the last day of the Tribulation, Lucifer must relinquish control of Earth to Almighty and order her demons to return to Hades. She must turn over the human souls of the damned on Earth for their final judgment. Then, Lucifer shall be locked away in the eleventh level of Hades—the Bottomless Pit—for a period of 1,000 years.
Lucie rises from her throne and stands in defiance. “I will not accept Rule 9 in its entirety. I demand you remove the last sentence. It assumes I will be defeated. We began the conversation today at this very same point. I intend to defeat you. When I do, you will not be able to imprison me. I shall continue my reign on Earth along with the demons and humans who choose to stand with me.
“Furthermore, you must stipulate you are not currently in possession of the Keys of Death and Hades. They are required for locking me away. Without the keys, the future is uncertain, is it not? I have a posse of demons on the way to Jerusalem to locate the Ark of the Covenant and recover the keys. Once these keys are in my possession, I will destroy them in the hottest fires of Hell. Remove this sentence, and I will agree to the Rules.”
“Lucifer, I will remove the sentence, but you will not triumph. The young Warriors I sent from Heaven are also heading to Jerusalem to recover them. The keys are indestructible on this planet, because I made them with the finest gold in Heaven. Be aware I will be fully prepared to imprison you on the final day of your reign. I will cast the people who have chosen your evil ways, as well as the fallen angels who revolted against me, into the quiet darkness where you will be isolated by the molten flames.
“Peace will continue on Earth for 1,000 years following the Tribulation. My newest followers still inhabiting the planet will live in peace and prosperity in the expanded Garden of Eden. The Cherubim guard I placed at the entrance of Eden will open the gates and welcome them in. They will marry, have children, and care for the land and animals, just as I intended. I will once again walk and talk with my creations in the cool of the evening. I will finally have the civilization I envisioned at the beginning of time. They will have free will to reject me and to sin, but without your interference, this will be extremely rare. When the time is right, the faithful can cross over to the Heavens and join the rest of my children in the New Jerusalem.”
Lucie is indignant with Almighty over his ‘happily ever after’ ending. “Even if this comes to pass, you have not mentioned my favorite part: Before these new followers can cross over from Earth, ‘I must be loosed for a while after the thousand years.’ Why is this, Almighty?” Lucie steps down and begins pacing in front of her throne as she tries to contain her emotion.
Almighty begins to speak, but angers Lucie by not giving her a direct answer. “This was part of an agreement I made with you when I negotiated the final act to save man. When he failed to live up to the Law of the Old Testament, I provided a Messiah to spare him from eternal damnation. I separated out from myself my beloved Son, Jesus, born of Mary in Bethlehem. I offered him up as Abraham offered up Isaac. I sent him to Earth to live among men and to set the example for a life lived in love and sacrifice.
“At age thirty-three, and after he had established His ministry on Earth, I agreed to allow Him to die a brutal death at your hands. He became the perfect sacrificial lamb to pay for the sins of man. He was laid in the grave. There He suffered in Hades for three days. We agreed to the terms, and this part is fulfilled. He arose from the grave, ascended to Heaven, and we are reunited as one.”
“I know this part. This is not what I asked. Stop toying with me. What happens when I am loosed?” Lucie screams out her frustration at Almighty’s indirect answers.
Almighty continues to ignore Lucie’s demands. The intensity in the Atrium increases when trumpets begin playing a single note. Their volume continues to rise. Lucie covers her ears with her hands. Almighty speaks louder so she cannot block him out. “I will be providing a second ‘Messiah’ for my chosen people, the Jews, during the Tribulation. They will need a leader to protect them from the destruction that you and the armies of man are planning to bring upon them. When the armies from the North and the East, which will number over 200 million, are marching towards Israel to kill its citizens and to steal its weapons and riches, this new leader will be made known. This is the second Messiah, the one who many have been waiting for.
“He will rise up while the mightiest and richest of sinful people on Earth are hiding in caves in the mountains This is when they will finally fear my wrath. They will be calling out for the mountains and rocks to fall on them so they might hide. Some will beg for death, but it will not come to them through their suicidal efforts. They will fail and be left with bodies damaged by their attempts.
“My chosen leader will gather together 144,000 men in Israel who will come 12,000 each from every tribe of the people. They will secure the sacred ground of Israel and not one soldier of the approaching armies will be able to take a single step onto their soil. As you turn to retreat, Archangel Michael will arrive with his Angel Armies and defeat you.”
“I refuse to listen to any more of this! You are ignoring my demand for information. In the witness of this holy place, I implore of you to finish the conditions of the thousand years!” Lucie climbs up and stands on her throne and begins shouting into the echoing rafters to be heard over the increasing trumpet wail. “Say it! Say it! Say it now!”
Almighty’s light flickers as if it has changed directions. “Yes, you must be loosed for a time after the thousand years.”
“And what are my rights while I am loosed? Tell me now!” Lucie is red with fury. Her eyes have turned yellow, and her tail begins to morph. This time, she cannot stop it. When she can no longer control her anger, she falls to the floor in the shape of a serpent. Unable to talk, she spits her venom at Almighty’s throne, and strikes at the light around it.
The tablets cease to glow. They too drop into the belly of the table. The top slides closed.
Almighty’s light rises to the rafters. It pauses and offers the serpent one final verse. “All is not finished. Much will be revealed. You will not know your destiny until that day. Be gone from my presence. The world is now yours.” Almighty’s light disappears in a blinding flash. The lights in the room begin to flicker. Thunder roars and shakes the room. The trumpet sound is unbearable. Lucie’s throne falls and shatters.
In the quiet darkness that follows, her temper cools. She slowly returns to her female form. She stands and wipes the blood from her bruised lip, cut by the shattering onyx. Her bodysuit is ripped down the front from her crawl through the sharp edges of the marble.
With a flash of light, Raphael descends from the ceiling. He opens the sliding table top and gathers the game board, cards, and Golden Tablets. He places them into the vault, locks it, and closes the door, hiding it once again behind the painting.
“What happens now, Raphael? He has left me here.”
“Figure it out. Your time on Earth is at hand. Be about your business.”
“How do I get out of here? Must I go through the door I entered?”
“That door has been sealed. It leads to Heaven. You are not welcomed there. Figure it out.”
Raphael ascends into the rafters and is gone.