Okay it’s official: Chronicles of Brothers is my favorite book series! For those of you who don’t know, Chronicles of Brothers is a Biblical/Fantasy series written by British author Wendy Alec. The timeline begins well before the creation of Man, and is supposed to extend to Revelation and the end of the world. For some backstory on the series, check out my previous post I wrote on New Year’s Day here!
I just recently finished the second book of the five-book series, Messiah: The First Judgement. The book depicted the earthly life of Jesus from a fictionalized account of His boyhood years (ages 3-8), to His ministry, Crucifixion, Harrowing of Hell, and Resurrection from the dead. For someone who knows the Gospel, and who has heard the stories several times growing up as a Christian, listening to Scripture can get a little monotonous and stale at times. But that’s not because Scripture itself is stale. After all, it’s the most beautiful true story ever told! But I think sometimes God allows us to see His message in new ways, and with a new pair of eyes.
That’s where Chronicles of Brothers has changed things for me! In order to understand the series in a nutshell, imagine a retelling of the Bible, crossed with vivid spiritual warfare, and relatable human characters who have to navigate life’s trials and tribulations. The series has a little bit of everything in it!
End of The Fall of Lucifer
I’m quickly noticing a brilliant thing used by Wendy Alec in her writing. She is a master at creating hope and expectation in her readers. In the first book, The Fall of Lucifer, she shows just how ugly sin is, particularly the sin Lucifer committed when he attempted to overthrow God. She also shows how hopeless humanity is after the fall of Adam and Eve, and before the birth of Jesus. For most of the first book, the Devil gloats at dooming mankind, thinking he has full power over us. And for a while, he does. But then, Jesus (or Christos as He is called in the book) freely offers to leave Heaven for Earth to save humanity. He offers to leave a place that is free of suffering, pain, heartache and sin in order to become one of us.
Wendy Alec builds up to Jesus’ birth by doing several things in the final few chapters of The Fall of Lucifer. In her first step to that, she shows the need for a pure, blameless sacrifice for the sins of humanity by creating a dramatic, grand courtroom scene. Millions of angels are present before God. Lucifer (temporarily returned to his beautiful state before he fell from Heaven) is there as well. He states that we have broken Eternal Law by our sinfulness, and that we are his property. There is a somber, sad mood in the room. All the angels, including Lucifer’s brothers Michael and Gabriel and a wise old angel named Jether, realize that Lucifer is correct. Unless someone undefiled with the sinfulness of mankind offers themselves freely as a sacrifice, there is no hope for God’s most beloved creation. No one seemingly fits the criteria for wiping mankind’s slate clean with God…
In the second step to Jesus’ birth, Jether and the other wise old angels see that God has chosen Mary to be Jesus’ mother, and that He has placed Jesus’ star in the sky as a sign to all (the angels in Heaven, mankind on Earth, and the demons in Hell) of the impending arrival of the Messiah. From that point, Wendy Alec picks up her pacing, but keeps that climactic moment from reach. Until suddenly, we unexpectedly stumble upon Jesus like the characters themselves do. Folks, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t emotional when King Aretas, his servant Ayeshe (the characters), and the Three Wise Men found Jesus. I definitely did not have dry eyes. It made me cry! Everyone, even non-Christians, have heard of the Nativity story of Jesus. But it takes a new angle on the story by a skilled writer to draw out such a reaction!
Messiah: The First Judgment
While The Fall of Lucifer almost exclusively focuses on Lucifer’s rebellion, and the consequences incurred by mankind for following him, Messiah: The First Judgment focuses on the life and miracles performed by Jesus. The neat thing though is when Jesus performs a miracle, or other great feat, we are taken BEYOND the Gospel story, and into the realm of angels and demons. What Jesus does reverberates not only on Earth, but in Heaven and Hell as well. The three most powerful examples of this are the Resurrection of Lazarus, the Crucifixion, and the Harrowing of Hell.
When Jesus goes to raise Lazarus from the dead, He comes across a whole battalion of demons guarding Lazarus’ tomb. Naturally even though they are fearsome, the entire battalion of demons is no match for Jesus, and they are banished back to Hell while Lazarus is raised from the dead. Once banished, the demons tell a stunned Lucifer what happened. After this, Lucifer makes it his goal to find a way to kill Jesus. Cue Judas’ betrayal, the Agony in the Garden and Caiaphas’ questioning of Jesus after His arrest. During these events, it’s clear that demons are at work. Wendy Alec added an extra, spiritual layer to the Gospel story to explain why Judas and Caiaphas did what they did.
Next on Good Friday, Wendy Alec paints a picture of the scene before Pilate decides to hand Jesus over to be crucified: Most of the people in Jerusalem actually seem to want Jesus to be released from custody. They view Him as a holy man, healer. and hero. But once Lucifer and his demons arrive on the scene, a kind of virus is released in the air by the demons. And once the crowd inhales it, we get the original Gospel scene: people howling for Jesus’ blood.
Michael the Archangel and his army is also present at Jesus’ Crucifixion. But they are not there to fight Lucifer and his army. The angels are merely there to watch things unfold, and encourage Jesus to complete His sacrifice.
Once Jesus dies, He is taken to Hell as a prisoner of Lucifer, who thinks he’s won the ultimate trophy. But after a huge amount of gloating and bragging, and crowning Jesus with an iron crown of thorns similar to the one He wore in life, Lucifer is shocked to find that Jesus has disappeared as soon as he turned his back on the shackled prisoner.
The next time Jesus appears, He is wearing the purple robe of a king and slaying demons with a silver cord of rope (a nod to the cord he used to drive money changers out of the Temple). He also frees MILLIONS of righteous souls. The scope of this whole scene is like something you’d find in an epic fantasy movie!
The final message in Messiah: The First Judgement
The Resurrection of Jesus is not covered as much in the book as His Crucifixion and Harrowing of Hell, although He does appear to the daughter of King Aretas (the man who found Him in the manger about 30 years earlier), after His Resurrection. King Aretas himself is old and bitter. He’s in his early 70s, dying, unbelieving, and angry at Jesus for the death of his son.
But in his last moments before dying, King Aretas and his daughter, Jotapa are visited by Jesus, and the King’s son, Zahi, who died as a martyr for Jesus. At the sight of Jesus, King Aretas’ heart softens as he sees his old friend. He cries as he recognizes Jesus as that same little three-year old Hebrew boy who he protected, and he comes to faith at his last breath on Earth.
That emotional scene hit me like a ton of bricks. The message at the end of this book is clear: God offers His mercy and forgiveness to all of us. Even at the hour of our death, no matter how lost we are. I think we all need reminded of that constantly. I know I do. Even though I am a Christian, I often feel like I am a lost soul who is in trouble with God.
Wendy Alec is an amazing writer, and her books have helped to reinvigorate my faith the more I read them. I know they don’t take the place of Scripture. But I think they help shed light on Jesus’ message, and what He’s all about in a new way. They refresh my enthusiasm to continue to try to follow Jesus. I encourage all people, Christians and non-Christians alike to read these books. You might find yourself as moved as I was! Next up for this guy? Book 3: Son of Perdition.
Later, everybody! God bless you all! 🙂