Authors: Chana Keefer
What people are saying about
“Earth-shattering yet subtle. I found God revealing Himself to me personally as Chana described the indescribable as if she was actually there!”
Former SNL cast member, Author
“After reading this book, I guarantee you’ll never think about God or the fall of Lucifer the same way again. Rapha’s story is a massive, visual spectacle, yet it’s also one angel’s intimate, personal perspective on the battle for all creation. ‘Epic’ doesn’t begin to cover it.”
Writer / Director of
has the potential to be the
of this generation. Chana Keefer manages to sidestep all the pitfalls of debate to provide a layered, complex, and character-driven look at the birth of mankind that places its focus not on the how of creation but on the why: redemption and resurrection. I wish I was that talented.”
TAMING A LIGER—UNEXPECTED SPIRITUAL LESSONS FROM NAPOLEON DYNAMITE
“As a Pastor I often hear the questions: What was going on before creation? What was happening in Heaven? How did the battle between good and evil begin?
paints a picture that can give image to the answers.”
Lead Pastor, Real Life Church, Valencia, California
Old Barn Press
Copyright © 2011 by Chana Keefer
Printed in the United States of America
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means—electronic, mechanical, digital photocopy, recording, or any other without the prior permission of the author.
All rights reserved solely by the author. The author guarantees all contents are original and do not infringe upon the legal rights of any other person or work. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the permission of the author.
All Scripture quotations unless indicated otherwise are taken from the New International Version of the Holy Bible. Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Love of my life and best friend.
You never once said I couldn’t.
A heartfelt thanks to my family; Mark, McKenna, Sky, Madeline and Micah—my first guinea pig. Thanks for thinking Mom’s obsession was cool. Undying gratitude to my parents, Lynn and Glenda Vowell, for loving and encouraging me from day one. Thank you to Tawni and Mark, for putting up with your crazy baby sis; to Mrs. Barrett, my literary buddy, for all the time, tea, cake and excellent taste; to the Keefers, Vowells, Gilstraps, Dillahuntys, McClungs and Pannells of my family tree who raised up your kids to live for God.
Thank you to the many writers who inspired me through the years; J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Gene Stratton Porter, Jane Austen, Catherine Marshall—the list would be unending. You inspired a little girl to dream and a woman to delve deeper.
A special thank you to our family at Real Life Church and our amazing Life Group. Thank you Brenda, Melanie, Tara, Jeanne, Emily, Dennis, Shannon, Lucy, Vicky, Jennifer, Amy, Terri, Gina and so many others who let me run-on about this story. Your encouragement is priceless.
As always, Robert and Andrea; yours is a world without limits. Adam and Michelle, you started down this path ahead of me and encouraged every step of the way. Cory and Vicki, you live outside the box and make it fun. Much appreciation to you, Jeff, for gushing about this idea when it was embryonic. Blessings on you, Janis, editor extraordinaire, for the word “Tolkienesque.” To the crew at Intermedia—Terry, Larry, Yvonne and Johanna—thank you for your expertise and professionalism.
Thanks also to the crew at Starbucks for the green tea, Chai, and office space! You really should be charging me rent.
Delirious, U2, Sting, Cold Play, S.C.C, Foo Fighters, Fleming and John, Mutemath, Switchfoot, John Michael Talbot, Dan and Leland, and so many others, thanks for providing uncomplaining accompaniment and inspiration no matter how early or late.
Special thanks to Pete Greig for his excellent book,
Red Moon Rising
, that helped me fall in love with prayer. This is just one of the results of that addiction.
Finally, thank you God for making the impossible reality. You were and are the best part of this journey, providing the adrenalin, perseverance, kick in the pants, pat on the head and anything else needed to see this through. You truly are the author and finisher!
There was a time they were best friends…
a distant memory almost forgotten. Almost.
It would be so much easier if he could forget.
Peace, peace, but there is no peace…
Rapha clutches his head in his hands oblivious to the rare trace of fresh air and woodland noises around him, too lost in fractured, tortured memories.
A child’s eyes, wide with fear; a woman’s ripe belly, torn; screams and cries of anguish splitting the darkness of night; innocence lost; purity destroyed; life swallowed in death. And weaving through every image, the sound of cruel laughter—feasting on mankind’s pain.
That face. Rapha squeezes his head but the image burns clearer—a face bathed in shadows as fumes of death cast waves of beauty and horror, eyes of leeching evil. Those eyes suck him into darkness, willing him to join the nightmare.
With all the force of his formidable will Rapha wrenches his thoughts from that realm, forcing his eyes open to light and life. A flower—tiny, bright, thriving no more than a few brave hours—faces the sun’s feeble light. With a need for comfort, Rapha stretches face down, breathing in soil and weakly pulsing life. Although fires burn, smokes of destruction rise and death reigns, here is a patch of green. His fingers grip deep into soft earth as fresh pain rips through him.
Flashing, intelligent eyes; a carefree smile; beautiful hands gesturing with enthusiasm; boyish laughter filtering through a forest glade—ancient memories that bring unbearable torture.
Sobs rumble from the depths of the earth itself, erupting through Rapha’s muscular frame.
“I cannot,” he gasps, wrestling in his mind with an unseen companion. “It’s impossible. He’s gone too far for too long. There’s nothing, nothing pure—he’s made it so….” Rapha’s body writhes like a tortured serpent, with agony greater than he’s ever experienced, threatening to rip his immortal soul from his impervious body.
But wait. There was a time he tasted deeper anguish.
No. Please. That is locked away—eternal sanity demanded it. But the horrific images descend once again.
The loved one weeps in agony, precious flesh is torn over and over as Rapha’s heart feels every rip of the whip, every trickle of spittle, every curse thrown like a poisoned spear. And there, in the crazed mob, everywhere he looks, the twisted, beautiful, triumphant, mocking face of one who was once a brother.
Rapha’s earth-crusted hands clutch at his ears but the laughter grows, filling every recess of his soul, stealing every hope and joyful memory.
A joyful memory?
In a flash Rapha is there; catapulted through eons of space and time, before the purity of the garden, back through countless ages to a fresh hilltop lit by a younger, more optimistic sun. He and Luc preferred the plunging cliffs dropping to unseen depths below. Somehow, a spiral dive carried more of a thrill when performed in a temporal world.
“There’s something about this place,” Luc’s eyes flitted from tree to mountain and stream as he stretched golden arms wide as if to embrace the early morning’s glow filtering through droplets of mist. “It’s not as grand as our
flawless, hallowed domain
but the appeal is undeniable.”
Rapha had ignored the note of restlessness in that melodic voice, choosing to enjoy fresh air laced with flowered perfume and the spiced musk of fertile soil. In the countless years of their friendship, he had learned Luc’s passions could flash with the slightest provocation, but usually, if Rapha allowed Luc to give vent to his emotions, the darker frame of mind would pass. And, a visit to this, their favorite retreat, was usually the perfect remedy, a change of pace and a different rhythm that put celestial matters into perspective. With a sigh Rapha settled back into thick green with one arm behind his head to contemplate the crisp blue above. Yes. This was just what Luc needed, a deep breath of contentment.
“Listen!” Luc crouched down as a biped creature struggled into view on the steep slope below. It was bent forward as if sniffing the wind, its hair-covered body tense, heavy brow shading deep-set eyes that scanned its surroundings. “What do you suppose it’s thinking?” Luc questioned. “Does that puny mind delve beyond putting one pathetic foot in front of the other or is it merely contemplating which part of its putrid body to scratch next?”
This new creature, standing somewhat upright and possessing intelligence beyond Earth’s other inhabitants, had stirred Luc’s ire. Rapha could not understand why these beings, known as “man,” so inferior to angelic structure, should irritate his friend so.
Rapha studied the perfect planes of the face beside him as Luc observed the creature with disdain and declared, “Do you realize it can’t live without water? A stiff wind could blow it off this cliff and that’s it. The young are even more vulnerable—tiny, squirming things one breath away from oblivion!” A mournful expression shadowed the handsome face. “I’d be doing a favor to end such a pathetic existence….” He raised an arm as if to summon a whirlwind.
“No!” Rapha was accustomed to Luc’s teasing but something in his friend’s expression warned him the humor had taken on a malicious tone.
Luc resisted Rapha’s restraining arm, “Just a small puff… oh please… it will know the thrill of flight as it plummets to the ground!”
“We are not to influence them,” Rapha was alarmed at Luc’s narrowed eyes and the hard lines of repulsion that marred the beautiful face. “You know the command.…”
Luc burst into laughter, eyes glittering with the triumph of disrupting his stoic friend’s calm demeanor. “As if I would dare defy Adonai!” Relief flooded Rapha as the shadow disappeared from Luc’s face. Ah… this was his beloved, teasing Lucifer.
“However….” Luc observed the squat creature, now scratching and snuffling under a bush, “he must have something to record on his cave wall.”
Without further discourse, Luc drew himself up to a height rivaling the tall evergreens, revealing himself in all his celestial glory. His body flared like lightning and a whirlwind of smoke rushed up from the ground, causing the bright hair cascading about his shoulders to flow up and out creating both a crown and mantle. With eyes of fire he flung a lightning bolt across the valley as the man creature screamed in fright and threw himself beneath the bush. When Luc turned his smoking gaze toward the trembling being, Rapha moved quickly. Expanding to equal Luc’s stature, his own muscular body rising thirty feet into the air, he took one step that resounded across the valley like a clap of thunder and placed himself between Luc and the frightened man creature that howled in terror then ran, fell, and rolled back down the rocky slope.
Luc reduced himself to his original proportions and fell back on the plush turf laughing, unfazed by the menacing regard of his friend who sunk back to a mere eight feet tall.
“Adonai will know.”
on it!” Luc’s eyes flashed with anger. “I’ve told Him these pathetic men will never develop if left to their own slow, cognitive abilities. Besides, you’ve just helped me initiate worship! That creature will grunt stories of his brush with ‘the gods’ for the rest of his life! He’ll be esteemed and honored. I’ve done him a favor….”
“You have disobeyed Adonai!”
“I’m showing Him I can
think for myself!
” Luc roared with a pent-up fury that drove Rapha backwards to shatter the rock wall behind him and send another resounding crash across the valley.
Finally, all was quiet. Rapha looked up from the mound of shattered rock toward Luc whose face registered vague surprise at his own violence. There was regret, but no apology. “Admit it, Rapha. You have doubts as well. How long will Adonai keep us slaves to His will? He plots to dishonor us, the greatest of His creation, yet we continue to bow and scrape and—”
“Silence!” Rapha’s voice thundered across the valley cutting off Luc’s tirade. He had never controlled his friend by force but the words against Adonai were an insult he would not endure.
Enraged, Luc fixed mute but murderous eyes on him as Rapha continued, struggling to remember how Adonai maintained the celestial court without anger. “Adonai has given nothing but honor and power to us. You shame Him, and yourself, with these words.”
Finally Luc’s tongue was loosened, dripping with bitterness. “Shame? You want shame? Continue blindly following orders until you find yourself nursemaid to the mud creatures,
!” In a split second Luc launched himself off the precipice and, like a glorious phoenix, traced an arc of fire through blushing, sun-kissed clouds.
Rapha’s mind skipped immediately to a more recent memory.
It was another day atop Luc’s favorite mountain. When Rapha appeared, Luc was tracing a lazy finger in the air to swirl a dark cloud in the sky above him. “You heard?”
Rapha allowed a tight smile, “How could I not? Your anger still resounds through the cosmos.”
Luc sneered, “Gabriel. Michael.
‘Thank you, Adonai!’”
“‘We will honor and obey.’”
A spasm of fury flicked across Luc’s features, “They grovel while Adonai humiliates….”
“No! They were chosen because they refuse to stir contention about what they do not understand.…”
“Unlike me.” Luc finished, his eyes piercing, his hands clenched into fists. “I, who have been closer to Adonai’s counsel than any other; I knew this was coming. I warned you. I understand all too well.”
“And make assumptions based on a glimpse of His plans.”
“Assumptions?” Luc’s volume rose, “What more is there to know? Adonai announced it. He plans to elevate these
,” Luc spat the word, “to give them dominion over this place. Can you honestly say that is no insult to us, His servants of light, His firstborn?”
“You mean insult to
, Adonai’s favored.”
“Yes. Insult to me. If anyone should be offered dominion it is I. I, who have been Adonai’s most trusted, the morning star of all His creation, not some vile creature of dust!”
“But you told me Adonai will dwell within them. They will be children of the Most High in every sense and one day His highest purpose will be realized through one of them—” But Rapha’s words were cut off by a whizzing blow and his mouth tasted earth from the chunk of mountain that had hit him. Immediately he transformed into his transparent body but Luc was one step ahead. Cords of light were flung ‘round Rapha’s chest and were tightening their painful grip even as Lucifer, arms outstretched, summoned a continuing barrage of rocks and trees as he spun in the air like a malevolent cyclone.
“NOOO! Adonai has betrayed me!” Luc screamed over the tumult of his storm, “He says
am not ready to rule! He gives authority to Michael, to Gabriel, to these, these
Rapha dodged and blocked Luc’s projectiles as he struggled to contain his own rising rage. “Please,” he shouted, gritting his teeth in the effort to escape the grip of Lucifer’s bonds. “Come with me. Adonai will explain any misunderstanding.”
But his words only stoked Luc’s rage. “You’re a fool, Rapha!” Luc screamed. “You had your chance. Twice Adonai has betrayed us while you,
, stood silent!” Rapha discerned other bright figures descending to Luc. Grief, anger and pain gripped him as he recognized the faces of those whose power now ripped his being. There was Aegeus and Epiron and, a shudder ran through Rapha’s body as he saw mighty Zelneus, one he thought forever faithful to Adonai, adding his strength to the assault, drawing molten rock from deep in the Earth to turn the swirling madness into a firestorm.
With a burst of power, Rapha flung off his bindings, and answering cords of golden light whipped from him toward his attackers. But these were angelic brothers who knew his strength—and there were too many. As they added their power to Lucifer’s, immense rocks shoved and jostled, breaking the surface of ground that had been solid only seconds before but now roiled like a storm tossed sea, opening immense jaws to consume him.
As Rapha fell beneath his angelic brother’s fury, their relentless attack piercing and shredding with blinding pain, despair stole his will to fight. They had shielded their thoughts and planned this attack. Now they used the mighty gifts of Adonai, power given to create beauty, to destroy.
“Abba Adonai,” Rapha gasped, the weight of his friends’ betrayal heavier than the mountain of rock and their binding power bearing down upon him. Immediately the sweet fragrance of Adonai, usually only experienced before the throne, wrapped its comfort around Rapha’s battered form.
“Do not resist.”
As Adonai’s command filled the crushing darkness, peace like a fast-opening bloom pressed out from Rapha’s soul and enveloped him. He relaxed, trusting, as the weight bore down and curses of his brother angels tore at him in the same way their fury smote the ground. However, Rapha had never felt more immersed in Adonai, so the burial was sweet. He saw a glimmer before his eyes, a reflection of his own ebbing fire and, with trembling fingers, wrenched it from the rock. It was a large gem. Rapha cupped it to his breast, its smooth, unyielding surface his only tangible companion, as his last feeble thread of consciousness was severed.