The being drifted down from the ceiling to perch softly in the far corner. Wispy wings fluttered gently and settled on its shoulders. The eyes turned on Antipas and a hand lifted in greeting.
â€śAntipas, you have been chosen by God.â€ť The voice was no more than a whisper.
But it was like no voice Antipas had ever heard. He could not only hear the voice, but he could feel it, almost touch it, experience it in ways beyond human understanding. Antipas was speechless as he stared at the being. He could sense the voice wrapping itself around him. He cherished the sensation.
â€śI have been sent to you to encourage and strengthen you at the Lordâ€™s command.â€ť The gossamer wings fluttered and settled again.
Still Antipas could not speak. He decided God had sent this messenger in a dream, and he never wanted to wake up. The voice alone was healing, like balm on an open wound.
â€śYou have been permitted to see me for a time. When that time is completed, I will still be here, even though I will not be visible to you.â€ť The being reached out toward him with a small hand.
Antipas gathered himself together and attempted to speak. Nothing happened. He tried again. â€śW-who are you?â€ť His voice was a tiny croak.
â€śYou may call me Ises. My real name would be unrecognizable on Earth.â€ť
â€śAre you an angel?â€ť
â€śLetâ€™s just say Iâ€™m a heavenly being. I have a host with me, but you are not permitted to see them.â€ť
â€śWhy am I permitted to see you?â€ť
â€śBecause you are facing a battle that will take all of us to win.â€ť
â€śThis is warfare. You have been chosen to play a part in the struggle, but you will not be alone.â€ť
Antipas peered into the darkness of the other corners of his cell, trying to see the host that Ises said was there. He could see nothing but darkness. But the darkness seemed friendlier than it had earlier.
After a lengthy pause Antipas ventured to speak again.
â€śWhat is this battle? Is it between demons and angels?â€ť
â€śYou might say that, but it is more than that.â€ť
Antipas thought about that for a few minutes.
â€śMore than that? What could be more than that?â€ť
â€śAntipas, you are living where Satan has his throne. And yes, it will be basically a battle between angels and demons, but the demons inhabit the gods of Pergamum. We will be fighting against Zeus and all the demons associated with him. It all comes back to Zeus.â€ť Ises paused to adjust the filmy wings again. Each time the wings fluttered, a tiny shower of light sifted from them like a sprinkle of stardust. â€śYou once were initiated into the worship and service of Zeus. That is why you have been chosen. Satan desires to recover you into that service, but God is greater than Zeus.â€ť The small hands were now folded in front of Ises.
Antipas processed this new information. Zeus was real and wanted him back? What irony. He had never believed in Zeus to begin with. Why would Zeus want him now?
The being could apparently read his thoughts because it now responded, â€śWhy indeed.â€ť The hands rippled before its face. â€śYou will be visited by emissaries of Satan, both from the physical world and the supernatural. They will all try to bring you back. You must be strong. They will promise you everything, but remember their promises are hollow.â€ť
â€śI would never return to Zeus worship.â€ť
â€śBe careful what you say. The incentives will be powerful, and you will survive only by the grace of God.â€ť
â€śYou frighten me.â€ť
â€śIt is good to have a little fear when up against the evil one. He has power on earth, power over mortals, and he wants more. You would be a gem on his sword hilt if he could recover you. You are light. He is darkness. If he could extinguish your light, he would win a big victory.â€ť
â€śBut I believe Jesus is greater than Zeus, and His power far exceeds the power of Satan.â€ť Antipas wrinkled his face, shaking his head.
â€śTrue, true. But remember you are mortal and subject to all the failings of fallen man. It will be only through the power of Christ that you will overcome.â€ť
â€śHow can I be ready to face this onslaught you say is coming?â€ť
â€śYou will remember that I and my host will be right here in the cell with you. You have only to call on the name of the Lord, and we will fight on your behalf. But we cannot fight without your call. It all depends on that. We have been restrained except by your call.â€ť
This was far more than Antipas could take in. He closed his eyes in thought. When he opened them, Ises was gone. Had he imagined this conversation? Wait. Up close to the ceiling he could see a residue of light, so filmy it could barely be seen, but it was there. It was real.