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In the days that followed the departure of Yeshua the apostles remembered that he had commanded them to teach the world everything he had taught. But no one had bothered to actually write down anything that Yeshua had said or did over the months and years they had known him. So they tried to come up with a definitive set of teachings by pooling together their memories of what Yeshua had said, but as is so often the case, human memory is imperfect and colored by preconceived notions. There was only a seed of discord at first but over time this seed would grow.

Shimon, son of Yoni, who was also called Kephas, found that sometimes if he touched a person who was injured or sick, they would seem to shift before his eyes, and instantly become unconscious. But when they awoke their infirmity would be healed. He had no idea that Yeshua was really taking the subjects to a distant point on the Earth on Timeline Alpha, rendering them unconscious, healing them over a matter of days or weeks, and then returning them to the precise point he had taken them on Timeline Beta with their bodies arranged in more or less the same position they had.

After that Kephas began his healing ministry in earnest, and many new converts were added to the followers of the Way. The crippled and diseased would line the streets where their families laid them, hoping that Kephas shadow would at least touch them if he himself would not. “And so it begins,” Caiaphas the High Priest said, “just as we feared it would when the body of this Yeshua went missing. Now these men and those of like mind will go among the people and tell them this Yeshua is risen, and stir them up to vain superstitions.”

Yet the apostles, despite the fears of Caiaphas, were not of like mind. The newborn Yeshua movement snapped in two when it was barely out of the starting gate. One faction, led by Yeshua’s half-brother Yakob the Righteous believed the movement was nothing more than a new take on orthodox Judaism and proposed to work towards an accommodation with authorities such as the Pharisees and Saduccees and even the Romans. Perhaps this attitude took hold because Yeshua had chosen not to give his brother the illusion of the power to heal. Yakob’s group decided to remain in Jerusalem close to the levers of power.

The other faction, led by Kephas, remembered how the authorities ruthlessly executed both Yohanan the baptizer and then Yeshua himself. They were not remotely interested in making peace with any enemy save Death, which Yeshua had shown through his resurrection could be conquered by anyone who made the rule of El Shaddai present in the world. In time, Shimon’s group migrated north, first to their original home near Galilee, then they moved further north to settle in Antioch.

Yeshua monitored the progress of his apostles at various points on Timeline Beta, and at first, aside from the odd “miracle” he did to prod things along, he did not interfere. But standing on Mount Olive the summer exactly forty years after he had been crucified, Yeshua witnessed the end of the Second Temple and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. He knew Judaism was finished as a religion of the temple. From that point going forward personal adherence to the purity code of Moshe, as taught by rabbis in synagogues, would atone for personal and corporate sin which had previously been absolved by animal sacrifices.

Spot checks further up the timeline confirmed no third temple would ever be constructed. What troubled Yeshua was that over that same span of time his followers never took his message of the Banquet of God to anyone other than the Jews. In that scenario, with the fall of Jerusalem his own movement would be rapidly extinguished as well. He went back to the 30s to see what he could do.

Early on the Jewish aristocrats and religious authorities realized the new “Way” of Yeshua was a cancer growing on their power structure, and it was progressing geometrically. They realized the only way to stop it was to escalate to bloodshed.

The first victim of this new policy was a deacon named Stefanos, who had been selected to aid the apostles in attending to the physical needs of the people while they focused on preaching. Stefanos was particularly fired up for Yeshua, and it was easy to manipulate a mob into interpreting his preaching as the provocation of a Jewish apostate and stone him.

This death was witnessed by a certain Pharisee named Saulus of Tarsus, and he heartily agreed that Stefanos had to die. He volunteered to become the chief thug for the orthodox Jewish side, and went around the country kicking in the doors of Yeshua-followers and dragging them, men and women alike, to prison.

When Herod Agrippa I took command of Judea, appointed by Emperor Claudius, the Jewish authorities told him that Yeshua was a man who had deemed himself to be God, and had drawn many followers to him, and these followers continued to make converts even after Yeshua had been executed. Herod was a good Jew and this deeply offended him. He took the violence to a whole new level by arresting Yakob Boanerges, brother of Yohanan, and putting him to death by the sword.

This seemed to have the desired effect. The followers of Yeshua’s way went underground in Jerusalem, but Saulus heard they were still openly preaching in Damascus, so he went there with letters from certain rabbis authorizing him to find Yeshua’s disciples and bring them to Jerusalem in fetters.

And when he was on his way to that city, Bat-El caused the mouth of the wormhole to fall upon Saulus. It was the first “alien abduction” in history. Night was transformed to day. There was a warm alpine meadow with many different flowers, and stunted trees, and the biggest mountain Saulus had ever seen, covered by dozens of glaciers. There, seated in the meadow, was Yeshua, who said, “Do not be afraid, Saulus.”

Saulus asked in reply, “Who are you, Lord?”

And the man said, “I am Yeshua, the offspring of the living God. I am the one you are truly afflicting when you arrest my followers, for they are my hands and feet in the world.”

Saulus sank to his knees and said, tearfully, “Forgive me, Lord.”

“There is nothing to forgive, Saulus. You honestly believed my followers were turning the children of Israel away from our God. I honor your zeal, but I have a better use for it.”

“Anything, Lord,” Saulus said. “What would you have me do?”

Yeshua smiled at him, “After you have been baptized men shall no longer call you Saulus. After that you shall be Paulus, and you will be my missionary to the Gentiles.”

“The Gentiles, Lord?”

“I know it’s very ironic. You studied the Code of Moshe under Rabbi Gemaliel and your observance of it is impeccable. You are the perfect Jew, Saulus, but it turns out that is all the Code of Moshe is really good for: making Jews flawlessly unlike anyone of the neighboring nations and kingdoms. But the written law doesn’t make you objectively righteous to my Father because God can see inside your heart and loyalty has to begin from deep within. Do you see?”

“I do, Lord, there is the kind of righteousness based on the fear of being caught, and there is the righteousness which springs from the desire to please one’s master.”

Yeshua laughed. “Clearly you are going to be the brains of my organization, if you join me, Saulus. No doubt you have heard of the man I left in charge of my flock back there, Shimon, son of Yona.”

“I understand you renamed him Kephas, or ‘Rock’, Lord.”

“That’s true, but you may not know why I did that.”

“The rumor is he is a man of great strength, Lord.”

“I named him Kephas because he is as dumb as a rock. Nevertheless, if I turn you loose without putting you into the proper relationship with Shimon and my brothers and my other followers, you will run where I do not want you to go.”

Yeshua, speaking these words, stretched out his hands and touched Saulus’ face. Instantly, he was filled with dismay. “Lord, I cannot see!”

“Others will guide you to Kephas,” said Yeshua, and Saulus did not see how he was returned to the place where he had been taken from.

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