The Angel of Apocalypse
Merlin stepped outside the cave and pivoted to the left of a mound of rocks to make room for Simon. Instantly, Simon emerged and stood on top of the pile of rocks in the center of the lake, holding the leather Box.
The men at the foot of the bridge saw him first and knelt down on one knee. Simon stood tall with his legs spread apart and raised the Box over his head as Philip ascended the stairs. All around the lake on the hills, around the rectory, on the top of the octagon castle, were armed men, and all dropped to one knee at the sight of the Box. They all knew what was inside and they all knew what had just happened.
Philip wasted no time in walking around Simon and crossing the bridge. Simon and Merlin followed. The soldiers swarmed from their perches towards the rectory. They no longer felt a need to guard the hills. They came to meet both their King and their Lord in the Blood of the Holy Grail. But Philip did not stop. With a determined gaze, he walked past them all and strode to the front door of the rectory. He held the door for Simon, who carried the Grail inside and then placed it next to the crown of St. Steven. Beside the table was a middle-aged Knight with his white scapular and a cross. In his hands was another scapular.
"This sign of the Army of God belonged to the first Templar, Godfroi de Bouillon. No one has worn it since he. Now, it is yours. You are now King of Jerusalem and our King."
Philip held the white and red cloth in his hands for a moment, kissed it, and then placed it over his head, letting it fall simultaneously across his chest and back. This was a genuine Templar robe, with a belled red cross superimposed over a white background on both front and back, running the length of the garment. He turned towards the Holy Grail and knelt down on both knees to pray. When he rose, he turned again, this time towards the sword leaning against the wall.
Philip grabbed the sword of Joseph of Arimathea with both hands and left the building. Outside he saw Merlin, still limping towards the rectory as fast as he could. Philip bowed towards him with all the respect of a son to a father. Then he lifted the sword over his shoulder and walked quickly towards the sea.
Philip walked down
Suddenly, an anguished cry erupted from Philip’s soul.
"How long, O Lord (Holy and true), will You refrain from judging? How long will you refrain from avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
(Apocalypse 6: 10)
As his voice savagely pierced the soft silence that belied the chaos of the world, Philip desperately thrust both hands towards heaven.
"My voice, Lord,
echoes the prayer of the Saints in heaven. My voice, Lord, has incessantly
dispatched this prayer to your Kingdom for lo these last three years. Through You, it is the prayer bequeathed to us by
"How long, O my Lord, must innocent children die from hunger or be pierced by the sword? How long, O Lord, will you allow infidels to crush our poor Christian brothers? My God, grant that I may be thy servant; permit these to be the hands that arrest the march of Satan. Our Holy Father has said there are two swords, and he ordained that I be that smaller sword, so that with your help, I could come to the aid of the Church. This besotted world, drunk on the blood of innocence, discordantly sings the requiem for Your Roman Catholic Church. But I, and these loyal servants awaiting your command, know that it lives still. When the word goes forth that the pope lives, your reinvigorated followers will emerge from their hideouts by the millions and place their lives in your service.
"Teach me how to serve you, Lord, and I will not shrink from your will. But I pray you, tarry not, and teach me now. Lord, let me be the instrument that fulfills the prayer you offered so long ago: may Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven."
His eyes fixed on the heavens, Philip perceived a subtle reshaping of the clouds. They seemed to be forming into an image of the Virgin Mary, her hand raised as if blessing him. At that exact moment, a great pain shot through his body from the back of his right knee, as if someone had suddenly placed an iron grip around it.
After his long prayer, Philip began to rise, but he quickly faltered, almost falling to the sand. His right leg seemed to have lost its strength. He tried again, and with considerable effort, made it to his feet. Immediately, he placed his right foot into the sea, leaving his left on the dry ground. Defiantly, his voice thundering, he raised his right fist up to the heavens and cried out:
"I swear by Him who lives for ever and ever,
THERE SHALL BE DELAY NO LONGER to avenge the blood of the saints. By the power
of God, and the prayers of His Mother, The Heavenly
energized, and filled with the exhilaration of a desperate battle at last
joined, every Knight, upon hearing Philip’s fearsome oath, shouted in unison,
"Hail, King of Jerusalem! Hail, King of
Merlin watched and listened from the top of the hill. Quietly, he said to Simon, "HE IS THE SEVENTH ANGEL OF APOCALYPSE, and the little open scroll is the mystery of his mission in Christ."
"What angel," asked Simon?
In response, Merlin simply recited scripture. "And the angel, whom I saw standing upon the sea and upon the earth, lifted up his hand to heaven, and he swore by Him that liveth for ever and ever… that time shall be no longer. But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound the trumpet, the mystery of God shall be finished, as He hath declared by His servants, the prophets. ----- Apocalypse 10:5-7"
Every man present had heard Philip’s cry, and every man knew he had accepted the challenge to go to war. Philip stepped out of the sea, pulled the sword out of the sand, and with a look of challenge and triumph, surveyed his army. With surprising strength, he lifted his sword over his head with one hand and shouted up at his Knights, "There shall be no more delay." In a joyful, rising crescendo, the Knights repeated the words over and over.
Still supernaturally afflicted, Philip limped up the cliffs with determination, disregarding the pain. His Knights followed in a joyful procession, not like an army reluctantly heading to the front, but more like a citizen's march celebrating a great day; not with precision like an army, but with determination and joy.
Merlin waited at the door as Philip approached.
"Now you know the last secret, for God has revealed it to you. Not from me, for it was not to be so, but from the Holy Spirit of God you have learned it. It is like a baptism or an ordination. It is a transformation from Philip, the man, to Philip, the instrument of God."
They went inside, and Philip stood before the Holy Grail, still covered by the leather box. Even while he was still praying, Merlin found a need to speak. "My King, there is one thing more you must know."
Philip turned around, sword in hand, and encouragingly, softly said, "Go on!"
Merlin sat down and
looked up at Philip, "The Holy Scriptures tell of
a 'SMALL OPEN BOOK' that
"Are you speaking
of the book in Apocalypse that
"Yes! That is the second great mystery of the Bible."
"Yes! The first mystery was the Messianic Secret. Christ commanded silence for a time regarding the fact that He was God. Even the Prophets of the Old Testament did not reveal the secret."
"And the small book
"Yes!" Merlin sat down at the table and placed the palm of his hand against the leather box.
Philip started to sit in the rocking chair, but remembered that he was in the same room with the Redeeming Blood of Christ and remained standing.
"The book is a book of history. It is open since God knows all of history and has revealed it to his prophets already. It is small since it is only a small portion of history. You have been chosen by God - just as He chose Moses, David, and Solomon - to be the leader of this small portion of history. You have been asked, and you accepted when you said of the Holy Grail, 'How shall I serve?' You shall be the instrument by which God unfolds His plan of Victory, the final Victory of the Church."
"The book, Father, was sweet as honey in his mouth and bitter in his stomach. Why was it bitter?"
"I will tell you why at the proper time. But first it is for you to bring God's people together and to stop the war. That is the part you must play in this book of history, the sweet part. The bitter part is not your problem."
"How shall I, one man, stop a world war?"
"You are not one
man. You have an army of Twelve Knights. You have the Holy Grail. You have the
power from the blood of Christ. You have the blood of
"This army you speak of; it's only twelve men at the most."
"No! That is not
so. It's not very big, but you only see a few men who have been charged with
guarding the Holy Grail, and a few others who have been guarding you since your
birth. Throughout the world the Holy Father will send millions to your side
"All right, how shall we start?" He looked at Simon. "What about you? If you are to be my constant companion, I should know something about you." Philip reached out to shake his hand for the first time. Simon's hand was so big, it completely covered Philip's, and Simon smiled about that.
"They call me Simon because of Simon of Cyrene, who helped Christ carry the cross. Some say that we black people get our strength from a blessing that God gave to us because of Simon. I don't know about that, but I will help you carry every cross God sends you."
"You look like you could carry anything. I'm glad you were picked. However, do not treat me like a king. I am your friend. I don't like this idea of people bowing down wherever I go. That has got to stop. If you are standing when I enter a room, remain standing, and if you are sitting, remain sitting. Understand?"
"As you wish, your Majesty."
"And none of that Majesty crap either, just Philip or Phil."
"Philip." Simon slightly bowed in fun.
"Code names, Merlin, Simon, what next? Let's meet our Army."
"I think you would like to meet the real Knights first," said Simon. "They were specially trained. In fact, one of them was the one who trained me. I will fetch them for you. You should remain with the Grail, for it will protect you more than I can." Simon left the room, ducking through the door. He returned shortly with eleven men close behind. "I have instructed them not to kneel, bow, or call you anything except ‘Philip’."
The men lined up against
the wall, and Philip went down the line shaking each man’s hand. "My name
is Jonathan. I was a Jew in
Philip continued. Two
more were from
"My name is Philip,
only Philip. I understand we have a job to do. I know nothing about war, so I
will have to depend on you for help and guidance. I assume you twelve have been
the leaders, and so that is how it shall remain. However, when I first arrived
"I am here." Pierre de Saint Clair had been standing in the doorway. At the mention of his name, he stepped into the room.
"I have been the teacher of these men. I also have been the keeper of the Knight’s Secrets, just as Merlin has been the keeper of the Secrets of the Church. But that work is finished. I must stand down, for you are now the head. What you command, they and I will do unto death. That is how they were trained. Victory or death is their only way of life. They will not back down from anyone, no matter the odds. That is their way. That is why we picked them. I am very proud of these twelve men. There are no better on the face of the Earth."
After his brief
appearance, Pierre de Saint Clair went back to the beach. A black chopper
swooped down and retrieved him, then raced across the sea. Philip watched until
it was out of sight. By then, the sky was reddened by the setting sun. The
color reminded him of the blood that had been shed the past two years. It
reminded him of how modernism had slowly advanced until it had captured the
souls of the children, and how a world bereft of spirituality and the love of
God had descended, slowly at first, then uncontrollably into anarchy. His
grandfather and his father had warned the European Nations that without
Christian unity, this would be their fate. It had now come to pass. The red
clouds over the sea were a symbol of the shed blood that had flooded Eastern