God finally came to Peter the Great in the waning years of his life. Until recently Peter had regarded himself as a God in his own right. A man of imposing strength close to 7 feet tall, with a mind that could quickly grasp practically anything no matter how great its intricacy, Peter never had reason to suffer one moment's self doubt. His insatiable curiosity and willingness to act firmly and without hesitation had made him a character to reckon with, no matter how rich or poor he might have been. But Peter had been born to be the tsar of Russia, an opportunity that was to make him a complete autocrat. Now in his sixties he was no longer so sure of himself. The glimpse of his own mortality had long ago begun to sink in.
"Hey Peter. Remember me? I'm God," Peter heard a deep resonant voice fill the bedroom chamber.
"Huh. You can't be," said Peter. "God is dead but people are so dumb they just don't realize it yet."
"You soon will be," said God. "Perhaps it's time you started to put God in your future. Me that is."
That started Peter thinkingthe same thoughts he had been reflecting on over the past few years. He had nearly single handedly created a modern Russian Navy. He had defeated Charles the XXII of Sweden in a long grueling war that had ended Sweden's dominance in northern Europe, which gave his landlocked country a port on the Baltic. He had defeated the Ottoman Turks and gotten Russia a port on the Black Sea. He had single mindedly created the City of St Petersburg from a swamp, forcing thousands of his subjects to move there kicking and screaming. But he had known what was best. He made St Petersburg his capital and within years it became known as the Venice of the North, the home of thousands of skilled artisans, artists, shipbuilders. Peter moved some of the best minds and talent of Europe there encouraging a multi nation community to flourish in the new city. He had single-handedly moved a backward Russia into the rank of a first rate European power by the strength of raw ability, drive, hard work and ambition. What troubled him was the nagging knowledge deep in his heart that his beloved Russia would never know his greatness again. He was growing old and he knew that his days were numbered.
"If you are really God, then give me a sign that it is really you," said Peter.
"Okay then. Where is my voice coming from? Go ahead. Look all around the chamber. Look under your bed. Look in your closets. See if you can find me," said God.
"I don't have to. I know you have already taken care of that. You made sure that I won't find you. It is a trick. There is a device you got some of my servants to build into the walls of this place to amplify your voice."
"Don't bet on it, Peter. Now feel in your heart what I am about to show you."
Peter suddenly felt a sharp pain in his chest, an excruciating pain that intensified with each breath until he couldn't breath any longer. It felt like a huge malignant hand pressing down on his chest. A few seconds later he felt the hand let go and the pain ended as suddenly as it had begun.
"Do I have your attention now, Peter? We have more important things to discuss than whether or not I'm God. I just gave you the first stages of a fatal heart attack just to let you know that only I have the power of life and death."
"I thought I was the only one who had that power," said Peter.
"You only thought you did and killed people or let them live as it pleased you. But it was I who made you Tsar, gave you that brilliant brain of yours, and nudged you in the right direction every time you had an important decision to make."
"Okay, I'm familiar with that kind of argument," said Peter. "Look, you got me, okay? I'm convinced. I sure don't want to feel that kind of pain again. So let's cut the chiff from the chaff. You didn't come to me just to impress me with your powers. Surely you have more important things on your mind."
"I'm glad you are a reasonable man, Peter. That is why I have chosen you."
"Chosen me? For what? Haven't I done enough?"
"You are the greatest man Russia ever had or will ever know," said God. "Unfortunately for Me, and for you, you are mortal."
"You might have a point there. But that's just the way it is. I will die and then they will build huge monuments to me as if that is going to make a big difference. I am about done for."
"No. You are not done for Peter. Your work has only begun. It is merely postponed. If you take me up on my offer that is."
"What kind of offer?"
"How would you like to be the Messiah, Peter?"
"The Messiah? But you already had one. Your one and only Son, Jesus. The one they crucified."
"He was not the Messiah, Peter. He was my Son. And he did everything that I expected of him. He paved the way. For you, Peter."
"I don't get it. I am an old man. And I am not the Son of God. For I will surely die."
"Yes. You are not the Son of God. I had only one Son and He is Jesus. Jesus and I have been planning your destiny for you, if you accept our deal, that is."
"But why not Jesus? If he is your son, then he has far more powers than I have."
"That is true Peter. But there are two things wrong with having Jesus do what we are hoping you will do. First, Jesus lived in Israel, a small backward place that is not nearly large enough to focus a whole world's attention on our greater mission. Second, Jesus is immortal, so it is impossible for mankind to truly identify with him. One just can't go out and tell people, "This is the way you should live and this is the kind of human being you should be because Jesus is this kind of person.""
"That's because Jesus is not a person and people will say "Okay, Jesus can live like that and behave that way because he is the Son of God whereas I'm just a man and I have faults like other men. So I can expect to have shortcomings and be less than perfect."
"Let's see if I got this right. I am a man. I am mortal. And I have faults. Therefore I can be a shining example to the rest of humanity whereas Jesus can't."
"I cannot explain it. But you will see what I mean later on, much later on, "said God, "once you experience it."
"So what's your deal, God?"
"You will die. We both know that. And then you will be reincarnated, say around three hundred years after your death. When you begin your new life it will be a time of great hope and for great despair. I will be dead for most people and the rest will be fighting for what they think I am and how they should live to worship me. The world will be on the brink of destroying itself. Only you can save the world and humanity, Peter. Do you accept?"
"But why me?" asked Peter.
"Because only you are capable if stopping this from happening Peter. I have given you all the tools to be a great leader and warrior, then I sat back and watched, knowing I gave you free will and to see what you would do with that free will."
"So do you approve of what I have done?"
"For the most part, yes. You have been what History will call an "Enlightened Despot". You have acquired and used absolute power. You have had the power of life and death over everyone in Russia. Everyone has had good cause to fear you. But what sets you apart from the rest is that you at all times have kept the good of your country at heart and the good of your subjects. It is true you have killed many people but that's the price of power and when you have killed it has been for the good of all. But you didn't kill because you were blood thirsty or because you had a whim to kill someone. There was always a good reason even though not everybody understood your reasoning"
"You are right. I saw myself as the only man who had the foresight and the balls to uplift Russia from being a backward, impoverished, small minded nation led by holier than thou Clergy into a modern nation state that is proud to put itself beside any other nation, whether militarily or culturally. They would never have let me do all that I accomplished unless I took the reins firmly in hand and crushed anyone who thought they knew better than me. And I was right. My record speaks for itself. I even had my own son, Alexis, tortured and executed, for conspiring against me and for joining forces with the opposition. How do you think I felt about that?"
"I know how you felt. Remember that I am God. It hurt you terribly. First when he joined the revolt and then when you had to have him tortured and executed."
"As the Tsar I could show no emotion. A weak man would have let his son live and then all of Russia would have been lost. Because I was strong I have been able to better the lives of millions. Most will hardly know what pain I suffered from sacrificing my own son for the good of Mother Russia. But it was his decision. It was Alexis who decided to turn against me and his country. He was a traitor."
"Now you know why we need you. The whole world needs you, Peter."
"So what must I do?"
"You must never forget me for one thing," said God. "And you must atone for what you did to the Clergy here in Russia?"
"I destroyed their influence and made myself the Supreme Ruler. You have already said that I did the right thing."
"And a good thing that you did. Those Church people were keeping Russia back for hundreds of years. Telling everyone they did not have to better themselves, making them satisfied with their impoverished, miserable lives because the meek shall inherit the earth and that they will have better lives in Heaven. All so the priests and bishops and other clergymen could steal from the poor. And I loved it when you had all their beards cut off. You totally humiliated them, Peter and showed the whole country once and for all, who was boss. And all their talk about "God wants you to do this" or "it is the will of God". They are the worse of the human species. Only I can know what God wants or what the will of God is."
"So what do I have to atone for?" asked Peter.
"For cutting off the beards of the clergy," said God.
"But you just said that You loved it when I cut their beards off."
"I did love it. Nevertheless you did it and even though I approved of your doing it, it still showed that you didn't respect God and saw yourself as being a God."
"You have me totally confused. What do you want me to do about it then?"
"When you are reincarnated you will be born bald and you will remain bald for the rest of your life. You will not have a single hair on your head. I am doing this to you not for revenge because you already know how I applauded your shaving the beards off the clergy but just so that you will never forget what you have been reborn to do."
"And what am I to do?"
"You will simply be yourself. But with one crucial difference. And that is that no matter what you do, no matter how cruel you might have to be at times, that the end justifies the means. And the End is Me. I want mankind to survive what will seem to be their inevitable destruction and I want mankind to be better than what it is. I want each person to know that it is not the self that matters so much as the good of humanity and the people around them."
"You have got a deal God.
Senator Peter Michaelovich woke up early, as usual, before five a.m. , and started his daily regimen with his first pot of coffee, his only addiction other than being a workaholic. Although born in Russia in 1950 he had emigrated to the United States with his family in 1952 during Stalin's latest purge. He had plans. Big plans. His first step would be to become the first U.S. President who was not a naturally born citizen.
God never visited Peter Michaelovich to tell him that he was Peter the Great. It didn't come to him accompanied by thunder and lightning or a burning bush. No one had told him he was the reincarnated great Tsar when he was four years old or when he was ten. It had all come to him slowly, yet surely, over many years. His family had made sure that he had the best education possible. He had gone to one of the Nation's finest Prep schools in Groton, Connecticut and from there he had gone to Harvard, graduating with Honors. His father had been a pilot, then a colonel in the Soviet Air Force under Stalin when he defected. Upon arrival in the U.S. he immediately joined the U.S. Air Force where his flying skills and knowledge about Soviet fighter aircraft and tactics proved to be very useful. What his superiors gleaned from him proved to be immediately indispensable during the Korean War when U.S. planes flew against Russian Migs often flown by the cream of the Soviet Air Force. For political reasons the fact that Russian pilots often flew against Americans was kept a secret and not much was made of the fact that the Chinese air force was trained and often led by Soviets. Sergei Michaelovich's star rose steadily in the U.S. Air Force. On the side he made a number of successful business dealings, primarily in real estate, that enabled him to live among Connecticut's wealthiest citizens. Peter wound up getting his Masters in Engineering from Harvard. But he had always been a voracious student of History.
Peter was in a unique position having been born in Russia and also having grown up in Connecticut, in New England, where the seeds of American Independence were laid. After all, it was Nathan Hale, who had been hung for being a spy by the British during the American Revolution whose last words were: "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." and Nathan Hale had lived in Connecticut. Jonn and Samuel Adams and many other leading architects of the American Revolution were from the neighboring state of Massachusetts. The History of American Independence interested Peter profoundly, and the fact that Connecticut was in the middle of its seed bed did a lot to captivate Peter's inquiring mind. Having been born Russian, he was almost equally enthralled with the History and traditions of his native country.
How the Soviets were able to seize power and to keep it for as long as they did, fascinated Peter. And since over twenty-five million Russians ended up losing their lives fighting the Germans during World War II, Peter had spent a lot of time studying German History, particularly about the rise of Nazism and how Hitler was able to make himself the undisputed master of Germany.
It was the dreams that slowly convinced Peter who he was. Nocturnal visions from the past filled his nights. Oftentimes they became strangely fused with the present. Gradually he came to realize things about his past life and present lives which together with his study of Russian History made him believe that he might have been Peter the Great in a past life.
Peter had an immediate grasp for mechanical things. This included an almost intuitive understanding of the human body. While an Undergraduate at Harvard several of his friends had pet cats or dogs. Several of the animals became sick and Peter was able to play veterinarian. One night one of his friends brought in his dog that had been hit by a car. The dog was lucky, not having been killed but it was torn up pretty badly. The dog had suffered a broken leg. Peter was able to stop the flow of bleeding and to set the dog's leg to the amazement of his fellow students. Once a student living in his apartment building had tried to commit suicide but had lost his nerve at the last second. The bullet entered the student's jaw, dislocating it, so that it hung agape at a ghastly angle. Peter was able to kneel alongside the student, stop the flow of bleeding, and twist his jaw to the right position, before the ambulance arrived.
Peter could devour an anatomy textbook, committing its contents to memory within several hours. His friends started to call him, Dr. Michaelovich. Peter read how Peter the Great studied Medicine and Dentistry which he practiced on his subjects. He also read how Peter built a small ship with his own hands and how he had gone incognito throughout England and Holland to learn ship building techniques.
Peter loved to experiment with motorcycles, cars, and speed boats. He could rebuild a car or motorcycle, with the greatest of ease. The Peter rebuilt motorcycles and cars oftentimes won most of the races they entered. He had also studied Architecture, afterwards designing several buildings which were favorably compared to Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpieces.
Peter was six foot eight and had been a stellar athlete on Harvard's football team. "How does one do it?" he had often asked himself. I am uncommonly gifted. Unbelievably gifted. But so was Peter the Great and he was, like me, nearly seven feet tall."
The dreams became more and more real with each passing year. He had been there. He knew he had. But it was a particular dream about the Battle of Poltava that finally proved that he was, after all, Peter the Great. In the dream one of Charles the XII's lieutenants defected and betrayed part of the Swedish battle plans to the Russians. The defection was of minor significance since Peter would have won the battle anyway. The defection was not a Historically known fact and it was not until 1975 that a nearly three hundred year old letter from a Russian officer was found in an old Russian farmhouse which described the defection. Peter's dream was in 1970. It was not until 1998 that he dreamed about God visiting him nearly three centuries ago. By that time he was already a U.S. senator.
Coffee was Peter's first priority. He now stood in his bathroom drinking from a cup as he thoughtfully regarded his appearance. He now knew the meaning of his bald head. He had always thought it odd to be bald all of his life. But he had never considered his baldness to be a drawback and used it instead to carefully cultivate the image of a tough guy. Tough guy or not, people seemed to be drawn to him and liked him for his affable sense of humor and fairness.
"This world has lost its way," Peter thought to himself. We thought it was so terrible when the United States and the Soviet Union had stood against each other during the Cold War years, putting the entire world on the verge of nuclear extinction. But they were rational adversaries and neither one was willing to push the button."
"And now the Muslims and the Christians are killing each other off in my mother country. There's been wholesale slaughter of more than a hundred thousand in Yugoslavia, and for what? Religion? Once again it raises its ugly head. And for years Arab terrorists have waged a war of extermination against Israel."
But it was the 9/11/2001 World Trade Center atrocity that had really gotten to Peter. Moslem religious fanatics had declared a Holy War or Jihad against the very roots of civilization itselfall in the name of religion. Civilization itself would be destroyed. It would come to pass. The Twin Towers Massacre had proven that a few motivated assassins could destroy in seconds what it took mankind years to build and kill thousands of innocent people while doing it.
Peter started to rub his head as he stared at himself in the mirror. "And what are you going to do about it?" he asked himself. "The Twin Towers is just the tip of the iceberg that is to come. There will be biological murder on a huge scale. And nukes. Millions will die. My very baldness is a sign from God. But even I don't know God so how can I guess at his intentions. No....this religious madness must be stopped but in the name of what? Another religion?"
At that moment God's intentions became very clear. Why it was Peter he had chosen to be the Messiah and not Jesus. Jesus was after all, not just a man of God. As the Son of God he was divine. People would once again take sacred relics from bits of his clothing and things that he touched. They would try to once again guess at what his intentions were and how they could excuse any of their actions in the name of God or Christ since they were after all "the true interpreters" of God and Christ's inscrutable intentions. And of course they could never be expected to behave like Jesus who wasn't human after all.
"There's only one law and that's the Golden Rule", Peter said out loud. That's "Do unto others as you would have done unto you." And nothing else matters. Religion has nothing to do with it. And that is what God wants me to accomplish. To secularize religion no matter what the cost. Only I am allowed to break that rule because I alone am the Messiah. I alone can avert the flow of bloodshed even though it costs a lot of lives to stop the much larger flow of blood that will gush forth if I don't act."
Peter had left his beloved state of Connecticut twenty-eight years earlier, moving just outside San Francisco, California near the mountains. Nearly everyone had assumed that his enormous wealth had come from a string of successful business ventures including his grape orchards and truck farms. Which was partially true since every business Peter touched had flourished. No one knew about the gold. Except for him and God.
He had found it while hiking in the mountains one summer during his undergraduate years at Harvard. It was the strangest thing that had ever happened to him in his life and he had found it before he had the dream about the Battle of Poltava that had finally convinced him that he was Peter the Great after all. Peter didn't just find a vein of gold ore. He found gold coins. British sovereigns and South African Krugerands, old Russian roubles and other coins from all over the world. Over a billion dollars worth.
He immediately bought the property where he found the coins and had a house constructed there. And although he continued to study in Connecticut he became an official California resident. He rejoiced in his incredible fortune but it was only years later that he understood the true significance of the gold.
One doesn't just find that much gold, in readily commercially coins when that amount of gold coinage isn't thought to even exist outside of already known or guessed at sources. He had been singled out and not just to enrich himself. He had not been touched by a spirit or simply given a message to convert others to religion or an ideology. He could go to coin dealers all across the country and get three hundred dollars for each ounce of gold to use whichever way he liked. That gold had been meant for something practicalto finance the machinery that could give him raw political and economic power.
Becoming a California Senator had been easy. Becoming President would be much more difficult and already he was having problems. He had thousands of people working for him in his vineyards, truck farms and other businesses. One of had been Sylvia Grant, who had been married to one of his managers.
Sylvia had just ripped off her husband in a vicious divorce. He had bought a house in San Francisco for a half a million dollars and stock in a number of companies. The house's value had increased to a million over the years and the stock had climbed even more. The divorce court awarded her a quarter of a million based on he marital portion of the increased value of the house and two million from the appreciation of his stock portfolio.
Sylvia had political ambitions of her own and she had decided that Peter was her meat. One can only guess at the foundations for Peter's wealth which was the gold. Sylvia had already begun to circulate rumors that Peter had acquired it illegally and had gone so far as to prepare false reports and allegations over where he had gotten it. She had web sites constructed in her hate campaign against Peter. Influential people had given him the money, she contended, who he would later have to pay off. Some of these people were connected to the mob. All of which was untrue, of course. But they could cost him the presidency as well as his seat in the Senate.
Peter continued to look at himself in the mirror as he made his decision. "The Founding Fathers had a great concept for this great nation of ours. Americans would have freedom to choose whatever religion they wanted or no religion at all. The Bill of Rights guarantees them freedom of speech, to say and write what they want. All a great thing, until it is abused. In both Russia and Germany, first the Bolsheviks and then the Nazis disrupted town meetings and political meetings in higher places by claiming they had the right to free speech as they shouted everyone else down or constantly interrupted everyone else thus stopping anything from being accomplished. They lied in their printed propaganda. And look what happened? Both the Communists and the Nazis were responsible for the deaths of millions once they took over. Meanwhile what did the established governments do? Nothing. They wimped out and a horrible price was paid for their wimpishness.
This woman is doing the same thing. She's fabricated all this stuff against me for which there is no basis in fact. She pillaged her husband's estate. She is a dishonest, bitch who has no honor and if I let her, she's going to stop me. Then I can't accomplish my mission. What would I have done while I was Tsar? I had my own son put to death and made an example of him.
Peter went out into the living room to make a phone call. The next morning he read the headlines in the newspaper. "Sylvia Grant murdered." The paper read: "Today at 9 a.m. police found Sylvia Grant's nearly decapitated nude body after receiving an anonymous phone call. Her body was found hanging by a thin strand of piano wire that had eaten almost completely through her neck, nearly decapitating her. Drug dealers suspected. Two police officers have reported that heroine syringes were found in her house near her body along with a small quantity of heroin. A small platform was found near her feet police officers stated they believed her killers placed under her feet so that she would slowly strangle to death before they finally jerked it away. Chief of police Raymond McCurdy vows: "Obviously this is a professional torture killing aimed at giving notice that anyone who crosses the killers will be dealt with in a very painful and barbaric manner. The war against drugs will be won. I will personally guarantee that those responsible for this heinous crime will be caught and brought to justice."
Peter smiled and whispered softly to himself. "I think I will make a donation to this war against drugs and go on record about how mortified I am to learn about this reprehensible murder."
The Peter the Great Episodes
The Peter the Great Reincarnation Pages introduction
Episode 1--Mission from God--July 2002
Episode 2--Peter the Great becomes President--August 2002
Peter the Great--The Golden Odyssey--October 2002
Peter the Great and the Coliseum--November 2002
Peter the Great finds out about Father Joseph--January 2003
God and the Lawyers--March 2003
Peter the Great takes Revenge on the Spammers--April 2003
Shootout at Peter's Corral--May 2003
Peter the Great--The Seduction of Sergei--August 2003