Building on the theme of separation and restoration that is inherent in faith, can a fallen angel achieve redemption after rebellion? Human arrogance, the Papacy, and the eternal struggle of Good versus Evil collide in this contemporary suspense novel by Robert Martin Bishop.
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By Robert Martin Bishop
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 Alan Riedel
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By way of exordium, I tell you that I cling to these few words given to Daniel, and though he wrote them down for neither me nor others of my kind, my brethren, still they were meant for children of The Father, were they not? Yet I have no right to Daniel's inspiration. I have no claim to mercy nor forgiveness, for my own rebellion defies such words.
Indeed, I am the Rebellion. The murderous agony humankind has at once caused and endured through your entire history is mine. I carry it. I suffer it. I kindled it! I nurtured it as you would avidly tend a favored grove of fruit trees, pruning and fertilizing to achieve the sweetest, deadliest harvest, an ingathering of blood and pleasure, a cold, sadistic, Bacchanalian celebration of human mortification and decay. This is our Eucharist, the elements of agony and anguish prepared and consecrated by me! So it remains for my brethren. Not for me. No longer for me.
And here I am come to this, my confession: the least I can do and all I have to offer. The irony of mankind as my confessor is not lost on me, nor is the unlikelihood of forgiveness, though so driven am I to seek it, to plead for it, or finally to achieve an end -- the damnation I deserve and once so assiduously sought for you. If by that road I could deliver you from us, I would walk it willingly.
May these brazen words of repentance reach you and may the one true Confessor choose to hear. I first betrayed Him. Then you. And now a third.CHAPTER 2
The name I was first given is unimportant. I am Jetebais, a name of my own creation some thousand years past. The name bears a certain resemblance to another, a sort of coincidental reference, which may later become clear. At first this was only a passing amusement, but there waxes in me a certain sense of adumbration planted in it, perhaps masquerading as coincidence. For your concern at this point in our acquaintance, however, the name is most importantly a cynical translation of The Father's intent for me, for my particular means of communication with his children. It was when I came to this realization that I took the name as a vainglorious sneer, and the coincidence of which I spoke made it just the more succulent to the taste. Of course, these children, the children I was to guide with a whisper to their senses, a kiss, as the name implies, did not exist at the time of my waking. Their nativity, your Creation, occurred long after we -- I, had betrayed Him, a point quite missed in most of your interpretations.
I own the respect and grudging admiration of my brethren; and save for one, they fear me. There is nothing peculiar among us of the talent itself – virtually all of us implant ideas in one way or another – but my abilities and the force behind them far exceed those of my brethren. They know that I have nothing to fear from them even if they should wish to do me harm. They sense, however, that on a whim I could easily set them against each other -- all of them. Such is the prerogative my particular gifts afford. Nevertheless, I must now tax this very power to its utmost or risk failure in this most precious task. Understand, I am not writing this confession per se; rather, I am causing it to be written by another, by one of your own.
But I am rushing. There is much you need to know, and I fear time is short.
Although my brethren are quite adept at creating chaos in you, they are consummately incapable of managing chaos amongst themselves, a fact of which they are made constantly and acutely aware. Such is the paradox, the intrinsic weakness of evil. It must be ordered, controlled utterly, or the ineluctable drive to achieve orgasm, havoc, the ruination of your souls, would ultimately lead to its own immolation, pari passu. I have had no part in commanding them, but neither am I commanded, a position that has earned me as much jealousy as respect. I am an enigma to them, something they are innately disposed to despise. I have appreciated the relative solitude their loathing has afforded me, but though they have kept a tolerable distance, they have also been very quick to act when alerted to an opening I have created for them.
An opening I have created for them: words so easily uttered. Now I bear their weight.
If you have read these few pages, then you have surely guessed much. I will leave those guesses where they are for the moment, but know that my intent is well planned.CHAPTER 3
I said that I am causing this to be written. It is a dictation, if you will, given to one whom you are unlikely to know, but whom you would certainly respect. This is for several reasons, all of which serve our collective protection, yours and mine. Another irony: Confusion, misdirection, manipulation, the very skills I have for millennia used for your destruction, I now employ to prevent discovery of this one, salutary deed. But I am merely musing, wasting time, a commodity that is suddenly precious. Forgive me. I am so very tired, enervated nearly to the last by the gravity of this undertaking and the ever present chance of discovery. I am allowing sorrow and regret to distract me. Mind that I care nothing for my person – not anymore – I seek only to complete this confession.
I must explain in some detail how this is to be accomplished. First, accept that there will be many interruptions. This is, after all, a man in whose life I am intruding. He must eat. He must interact with others as usual. He must sleep, even as I wake him. His daily human activities must continue unaltered. There must be nothing to raise suspicion. To this end, one might say, I should choose a writer, one whose daily routine might fit this task. But no, this would not do, as a writer is quite fettered with obligations and demands from people who derive profit from his work. You see, any change in a normal pattern of what is done or not done causes reactions, ripples if you will, elsewhere and in countless directions. And there is no entity yet created more sensitive to such shudders in rhythm than my brethren. It is as if a web were cast, sensitive to the slightest movement. Any change in cadence may alert us to an opening for our trespass. No change must happen, no hint of change, and no part of this may be exposed until we are finished. This fact alone eliminates writers and so many others. I offer this only for your understanding.
Beyond and far more dangerous than the exigencies of the man's life will be the inescapable and sudden, unannounced interruptions by one of my brothers. Should he appear while I am with this man, and he will, he must not suspect that he is interrupting. He must even believe he is helping to further my deeds, as he has so often done before. Discovery is the ready enemy.
Before I explain myself more thoroughly, I think it best that you first understand more precisely what experiences this man in whose mind I have insinuated myself will know and of what he will be aware. In this way, you will be prepared for that which is surely to come.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7CHAPTER 4
I have chosen one whose work requires some measure of insulation but not a recluse – another favorite target of my kind. His day-to-day and week-to-week remain virtually unchanged. He is never visited nor disturbed when he sleeps. His actions are never questioned. Most importantly, due to the nature of his life, my repeated visits would seem quite usual to my kind. I think it appropriate for the sake of ease as well as due respect to refer to him with a name. I choose Paul, a befitting name in many ways.
I have been able to manipulate your thoughts, perceptions, and even convictions with simple, repeated whispers. I can wholly change the actions of men by burying thoughts inhospitable to my purposes deep into the recesses of their minds. I cover their consciences with thick clouds of delusion that say what they are doing is just and right or charitable and beneficent, and then I blind them to the inevitable result. I must now use this power in a very different way. It is necessary that I remain with Paul for long periods, which is unusual but not unprecedented and so will not arouse suspicion. When he wakes at his usual time, he will be unaware of what has transpired between us. When I am with him, however, although he will believe he is simply dreaming and therefore will not react as one might, he will be fully conscious and aware. As the times and number of visits progress, likely his awareness will increase and the thought that he is experiencing only a dream will fade. I will not interfere with this, for to do so could cause him pain.
This means, of course, that Paul will be aware of my presence as well as whatever interruptions occur. This is most difficult. As I am sure you have surmised, it is Satan who will appear abruptly as he always does. Satan.
Satan is everything you have ever been taught. He is also everything you have imagined he could be. He is everything you have read about him, everything you have seen in your entertainment. He is every iteration you have ever been frightened by or laughed at. He is visible and invisible. He is colossal and microscopic. He is spirit and body, ethereal and tangible. He is whatever serves his immediate purpose. In his purest state, lacking all affectation, he is quite magnificent -- blindingly so. Though for many thousands of years he has hidden his true countenance even from me, I have never forgotten it. That part of him and what it represents, he has forever interred in soil of hatred. Satan alone has the power to affect my perception of him.
Here I should tell you that a number of us can appear to you in any form we choose. More precisely, we can cause you to perceive us in any form. Our brethren instantly recognize each other regardless of your perception of us, but only three, Satan, Leviathan, and I, have the ability to cause our brethren to see us unrecognized in any form we choose. Their envy of me is owing to this power of mine and one other: While Satan is able to affect how I perceive his form, he cannot hide his presence from me.
We have shared, therefore, a kind of bond; I do not call it friendship, but it is a bond nevertheless, born only of our near equality of strength. I alone share and am immune to these most precious of his powers, yet I in no way compete with him for the loyalty of our brethren. Indeed, their jealousy and hatred of me allows him to afford this bond with me. I believe he enjoys it as did I, once.
A very few of us have the ability actually to assume a form visible and palpable to you, not simply perceived. This we do for the sake of convenience. We are in actuality very large compared to you, twice your size at the very least. If we wish to befriend you in our own way and remain near and tangible to you, we must employ a diminished form to accompany you in your houses and establishments.
Have you ever known someone for a brief period, someone to whom you felt drawn, someone who seemed immediately to become your friend or perhaps even a romance? The unusual speed with which you became friends and the closeness you achieved seemed almost aleatory, a matter of pure chance? You very much enjoyed his company, but then weeks or even years go by and you realize only some faint memory of him? Perhaps you realize some things that you did or caused to occur which you now hide and regret. Or perhaps you were drawn into a deed and then betrayed. Perhaps these were not deeds at all but are simply memories we have given you, and their secrecy is kept safe by your shame. Perhaps we have shaped the memories of many around you. Perhaps when acquaintances deny an activity you recall to them, perhaps they are right. Perhaps not. This is but one small way for us to keep you in chaos, never quite knowing peace.
My culpability in all of your crimes and all of your misery is greater than that of Satan himself. You must understand! I did not follow Satan; I simply left at the same time! I took no part in any battle. I was given the chance to turn back, but I chose to seek power! I chose to claim equality with The Father! Later, much later, I chose contempt for mankind. I was neither driven to it nor seduced by anyone.
I stood next to Satan, not behind him and not with him. My culpability is greater because I did this in my own insolent conceit, neither leading anyone nor being led. I did not even feel the intoxication of the army behind us; that was for others to savor. I gained what I sought: autonomy and solitude.
Satan and I are equals in every way but one: Power or no power, bond or no bond, Satan has the capacity to destroy me! As I can place thoughts into the minds of our brethren, so also can he, and using their unquestioning obedience to him and their hatred for me, he could set them on me like rabid, foaming wolves. I could easily stand against legions of them, but not all of them with the power of Satan's rage behind them. That time may yet come, but I must finish this and pass it on to you before he can stop it.
Neither I, nor Satan, nor any of us, can do you physical harm. Not directly. We can play havoc with your sanity, and we can threaten you with great show. We can cause you to believe that you are being burned alive, but this is fleeting. Reason soon overtakes the panic. Our maleficence proceeds from our ability to cause you to inflict pain, but we are entirely powerless against you in any verifiable way. Even those who refuse to hear the Truth, even you who believe you are too intelligent for such nonsense << the height of all human ironies >>, even you who have done the most despicable evils, even you are protected from us until the moment your body ceases to contain you. I enjoy no such protection. And men of faith in The Father – they are the most difficult and yet among the most irresistible challenges and prized conquests.
In any case, since Satan cannot observe me without my knowledge, he simply appears, generally with some flourish and in any of hundreds of forms, as if to indicate that he has no need to hide. Different forms are, finally, all that is left to him; they are his mask. Although the forms and gaudy posturing outwardly mock the subject, their true purpose is to mask what he once was. He hides behind them, quite literally.
Because of how his mind is receiving these words, Paul will become a kind of stenographer when Satan appears. He will record everything. Surely you understand the danger in that! Satan despises many things and many men; but a record of his existence, of his very words, this will be met with indescribable rage. Even I cannot imagine such ferocity. Satan guards our anonymity above all else. Anonymity is the very core of our success. Creeping unrecognized into the mind, we can cause immeasurable sin and pain, but actual evidence of our presence in human lives would render us virtually impotent. Men of faith and conscience would always prevail. We would become nothing more than a highly curable annoyance, and with that knowledge, we would soon set about our own destruction.CHAPTER 5
Satan has good reason to trust me. I have given him good reason.
Jovial bluster and bombast is something he enjoys thoroughly, no doubt his way of relaxing my vigilance. Yes, there is a bond, and he does trust me certainly above all the rest, but never without his need occasionally to stake his advantage, feed his ego –
Yes, if you will permit me an aside, it is fitting that I use this word, ego. Sigmund Freud was one of the very few men Satan actually did not despise until, nearing the end of his days with you, he wrote Moses and Monotheism. This little work was especially galling to Satan, for from the pen of a highly respected and credible atheist came this thesis exposing open doors through which all but the most hardened of your pseudointellectuals could excuse faith in the unseen. As well, it was another unwelcome reminder that even he, the great sworn enemy of The Father, did not control man's every independent thought.
-- and feign a need to renew his confidence in me. I am lucky, I suppose. I command none of his legions, and therefore I do not suffer the constant supervision his leaders endure. He has six chieftains in this chthonian cadre who in turn are commanded by one overlord. This is Leviathan. His powers are formidable, certainly, but his hold on this position is owed chiefly to the pure joy he takes in causing human atrocities and in serving Satan. He either does not understand or chooses to ignore Satan's true nature, and therefore believes that his devotion is appreciated. Leviathan's powers and abilities approach my own, but he cannot hide his identity from me nor appear unnoticed. He is unaware that I do not share this weakness.
Excerpted from I, Jetebais by Robert Martin Bishop. Copyright © 2016 Alan Riedel. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The story was thoroughly enjoyable and Bishop's writing style is equally so. An excellent book for the seasoned theologian, amateur historian, or any reader looking for that next book you just cant seem to put down.
Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite I, Jetebais is a work of Christian fiction by author Robert Martin Bishop. Focusing on the deep philosophical questions that plague mankind about the nature of good and evil, the story kicks into gear with central character Jetebais’s descent from Heaven. The story develops into an overall world view focusing especially on the leaders of mankind who we expect to be pillars of good in the community, along with the grim reality that this is not always the case. The influence of evil on humanity points out the modern human race’s central flaws, prompting a debate about forgiveness and the power of Satan. Robert Martin Bishop writes exceedingly well with a complex and literary vocabulary that will appeal to select audiences searching for an intellectual read. I believe it would also be highly beneficial for readers to be more familiar with the dogma of Christianity and the Bible because there are numerous references that would be more rewarding to the story if they are understood in a biblical context. That said, I found that I was still able to enjoy the central story line and the questions it raised about human nature, and especially the temptation of evil in the corruptions of politicians and other important leaders of the world. I, Jetebais is much more a considered work than a character or plot-driven piece, but the winding story line definitely results in a fascinating and unexpected conclusion that’s well worth reading to reach. Overall, I, Jetebais is a worthy read for its intended audience.