Jealousy and pride ignite in Lucifer’s heart. He declares war on his creator, King Elohim, a war that will rip apart Heaven and spill onto the new Earth. It’s up to Lucifer’s brother, Michael, High General of Elohim’s Angelic Army, to stop him. But can he? Lucifer’s treachery knows no bounds.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.29(d)|
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The King's robe of white light shifted, revealing his copper-toned ankles. King Elohim bent down in the fresh dirt. His skin shone bright, like bronze blazing in a crucible. No earthly eyes could stand to focus long on his illuminated form. Only his Angelic helpers seemed unaffected by his brilliance. The fascinated Angels congregated around the skies, silently observing their Maker skillfully fashion his newest creation.
King Elohim slowly drove his hands down into the rich earth. The red clay crumbled beneath his fingers as he gently kneaded the ground. When happy with the consistency, he began to lovingly form a new type of being. With his bare hands the Maker expertly compacted the clay into hard bones. He arranged them in a precise order to form a framework, a skeleton. He took great care molding the odd shaped organs. Each unique organ was purposed with a specific function. The King gingerly placed the organs between and under the bony structures that would house and protect them.
Elohim sat up straight, planning his next move. He touched his dirty fingers to his chin. The clay incinerated upon contact with his searing skin and let off a minute tendril of smoke. He dove forward once more, piling a heap of loose dirt over the clay skeleton. He patted the dirt into a hard lump. Carefully, he traced an outline of a body onto the mound with his right index finger. It served as a crude schematic. He tediously cut away the excess dirt from his etched lines. So absorbed with his project, the Creator's intent eyes never left his work. Elohim's breath quickened and the Angels held theirs.
He smoothed the dense edges and sculpted two arms, two legs, and a torso. He spent extra time designing the intricate hands and feet. When finished with those he moved on and shaped an oval above the neck, a head. The Creator carefully constructed two ears to hear, two eyes to see, a handsome mouth to speak and eat with and a straight-bridged nose to smell and breathe with. These senses would be important tools to help the being survive on Earth.
The Maker added clay to the top of the head and fashioned it into wavy hair, short around the ears and neck, but longer on top. The hair would aid in keeping its head warm and protected. The Sculptor stroked the clay being's cheek and rose to his feet. He meticulously inspected his work, making a few tweaks here and there. The being was perfect in form, completely symmetrical. Satisfied, Elohim put his hands on his hips and took a deep breath in. The smell of fresh dirt filled his nostrils. The sweet aroma brought a smile to his kind face. The King loved this smell. His eyes blazed with red fire and he focused them on the Angelic Host filling the skies. The Host continued to stare silently at him, eagerly awaiting his next move.
Elohim kneeled down once again, bringing his face close to the statue's face. He gently blew over his creation's mouth and nose. The cold brown form changed into a warm olive-skinned being. The spectating Angels let out shouts of praise. Excitement filled the atmosphere. As Man took his first independent breath and opened his crystal blue eyes, every Angel came down on bended knee to worship Elohim, well, all but Lucifer that is. Michael seemed to be the only one to notice Lucifer's act of rebellion and would never forget what he saw in his brother's eyes that day, for it was the first time he had ever seen the seed of jealousy take root and ignite.
Taking his living statue by the hand, Elohim lifted Man to his feet. In the most deeply rich and melodious voice, the Most High announced, "This is Adam, to him I give charge to rule over this land called Earth and all that live in it! I have given him life and to his life, value. I have designed a destiny far greater than that of any other creature."
A barely audible moan caught Michael's attention. It came from his right. There stood Lucifer, his black eyes squinted and his arms folded tightly over his chest. He appeared angry. The serious Angel stared menacingly at the King. Confusion tugged at the corners of the General's mind, certainly this occasion called for brevity and not such somberness.
"Now I will finish creating this exotic Garden for Adam to live in," announced Elohim.
Michael peeled his eyes away from Lucifer and focused on the radiant King. Elohim removed two miniature trees out of his robe of light, each one the size of his small finger. He placed these two trees in the center of his verdant paradise.
He leaned down and whispered a song to them. The Angels couldn't make out the words but cheered when the trees began to quiver and respond to the Creator's voice. The roots grew and grabbed into the earth. The trunks and limbs multiplied in size. Their branches reached high into the sky. Adam noticed that each tree sprouted leaves and fruit unique to itself.
The Tree of Life's strong boughs reached out and up. They were covered in bright green leaves, which shimmered with iridescence as they caught the light radiating from the King. The pear-like fruit clusters adorning the tree resembled a rainbow, each individual fruit a different hue. Oh, how the King loved color.
Inside each fruit, lived the organic property that could heal the body and sustain Human life forever.
"Adam, this fruit from the Tree of Life is to be your main food source. It will allow you to live for eternity in communion and friendship with me, your King."
Adam nodded his head in understanding. His gaze shifted to the tallest of the divine trees, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It towered over the Garden and shimmered in the daylight, its bark made of glittering gold. Its golden branches swept over the sturdy trunk like a weeping willow and brushed the Garden floor. Its long, silver, feather-like leaves swayed in the breeze.
Michael picked his way through the crowd. He stopped at the edge of the great tree's reach and examined a leaf. He rubbed his rough finger over the leaf's soft velvety surface. He enjoyed the soothing feel of it. King Elohim and Adam strolled over and stood at General Michael's side. The King beckoned to Michael, giving him permission to examine his creation more closely. Fruit the size of a Human's fist bejeweled the tree's boughs in small groupings. Michael cupped a cluster of fruit in his large hands, each fruit a perfect orb, its color a rich, alluring red. Michael smiled as Adam bent over and sniffed the fruit in his hands. They smelled of cinnamon.
A large depression sunk into the center of the golden trunk and the glyphic symbols that stood for truth, righteousness and freedom appeared over the hollow.
"What is this, my King?"
"It's a portal leading to my Heavenly Throne Room."
Elohim turned to Adam. "Only Spirits like me and the Angels can make use of this doorway. I designed it for quick access from the Heavenly Throne Room to this beautiful Garden that we shall call Pardes."
The Creator turned to three Angels perching in the luscious branches of the Tree of Life and instructed, "Doumbek, summon the animals, Guiro the reptiles, and Bran, the birds of the air!"
The ebony-skinned Doumbek unclipped a goblet-shaped hand drum from his red belt. Beautiful hand-etched depictions of the King decorated the side of the spun copper drum. His long fingers danced lithely over the drum's surface tapping out a slow, deep, melodic beat.
Guiro produced an odd gourd-shaped instrument from inside his soft robes. It had ridges on one side and was hollow on the inside. Guiro rubbed a wooden stick along the ridges. An amplified saccade joined Doumbek's drumbeat.
Bran, with skin the color of alabaster, easily climbed to the uppermost branches of the tree. His hand gripped a small golden penny whistle. He brushed his flaming red hair out of his green eyes and raised the small flute to his lips. He gently blew. A piercing melody burst forth.
The three musicians played in perfect harmony. At first, the beat was slow and rhythmic, then, it became faster and louder. An electric energy filled Pardes. The ground shook and the leaves trembled. Michael heard animal sounds in the distance. They grew louder and closer by the second.
The skies of Pardes filled with birds of all different sizes and colors, each bird mimicked Bran's whistle in a different timbre. They circled the air, blocking out the sun's light before settling in the trees encircling the Glade.
An elephant's trumpet announced his arrival in the center of the Glade. Pairs of animals and reptiles broke through the surrounding foliage. They crowded themselves into the Garden, all with their eyes upon their Maker. The ground shook with their excitement.
Elohim raised his hand. Everyone quieted down. Even the four rivers that flowed through Pardes seemed to cease their babbling.
"Adam, I have created all of these," Elohim paused as he beheld all of his creation, "I am giving you a responsibility. I am putting you in charge over all of my Earthly creatures. You are to name and care for them all."
Adam stared dumbfounded at the Creator. The King kindly grinned. He motioned for his creation to come meet Adam.
One by one, pairs of creatures stepped forth and introduced themselves to Adam. A pair of brazen elephants lumbered forward pledging him their strength, a shy pair of field mice followed offering him their ears. A majestic eagle swooped down over Adam's head with his mate in tow, promising him their eyes. Each living creature had the ability to speak in the same tongue as Adam.
Every pair of living kind presented themselves to Adam. He was overwhelmed with the sheer numbers of them all, and how could he not? It took a whole Earth day and night just to meet them all.
As the sun began to rise, and ribbons of blues and oranges danced on the horizon, the last pair of creatures chose to be revealed. Adam had thought he met them all, when with his peripheral vision he detected movement in a tree he was standing close to. He peered up just in time to witness a leafy section slowly detach itself from a large overhanging branch. It slithered down the trunk of the tree in a liquid-like motion. He had no idea how long the perfectly camouflaged beast had been there, spying the introduction ceremony in stony silence.
Adam's breath caught in his throat. The beast reached the ground. It was like no other. Bright green, diamond-shaped scales covered the creature's long body. Royal blue gaps filled the spaces between each green scale. It turned its triangular head towards Adam. Scaled eyelids slid down over two large ruby red eyes. The beast's large mouth twisted into a grin, its lips flecked with baby blue scales.
It had four muscular appendages, each accompanied with a sharp pair of ivory talons. A ridge of barb-like scales wound its way over its spinal column and down to the tip of its long tail. Each barb was green and shaped like a jagged leaf.
The twelve-foot beast reared up on its hind legs, displaying its yellowish-green underbelly. It walked towards Adam on two legs. The beast lowered his head so that he was eye-to-eye with Adam. The Reptilian stared at Man, studying him. Man held its gaze, sensing great intelligence in those black-slitted red eyes.
The Reptile's blue-flecked mouth slid apart and a silvery voice escaped over its squarish teeth, "It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Adam. I am Rubeus, the first male of my kind."
"It is nice to meet you Rubeus."
Adam searched for Rubeus' mate, "Do you not have a female?"
Rubeus excitedly swished his tail through the air and exclaimed, "Man, that I do! Vipress, come forth and meet Man!"
From behind the golden trunk of the Tree of Knowledge stepped a more petite and demure version of Rubeus. She shyly approached Adam, too nervous to look up.
"Hello, Man," remarked Vipress, her voice smooth like honey. Her eyes weren't red like Rubeus', but rather a gorgeous shade of violet. She smiled and Rubeus pressed his forehead to hers in an act of love and devotion.
"Elohim has given you a beautiful mate, Rubeus."
"Yes, yes, he has." Rubeus turned and bowed to the King who had been standing off to one side of the Glade. "Thank you Creator. I am grateful."
"You're welcome Rubeus. You can repay me by being a friend to Adam."
"My pleasure, my liege," Rubeus humbly vowed.
"Now it is time for rest," declared Elohim. He clapped his hands and all the living creatures began to disperse back to their homes. The Angels stretched their wings, shooting into space and out of sight. Michael observed Lucifer, who with a scowl on his face, stepped into the golden portal set into the trunk of the Tree of Knowledge. He instantly vanished in a cloud of golden light.
Michael lagged behind, curious to hear what Elohim had to say to Man. Rubeus and Vipress also stayed, for after all, they each had vowed their friendship to Man.
It had been the longest day of Adam's young life. He grew weary. His belly emitted a series of strange noises. He put his hands on his stomach. Odd vibrations accompanied the loud gastric rumblings.
"You are hungry." Elohim guided him over to the tree line. "This will be a good home for you Adam. All you need is here in Pardes. Eat the fruit of the Tree of Life and you will live forever in complete vitality. But, take heed, do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This fruit will bring a curse upon you and the land."
"Yes, my King," promised Adam. He sauntered over to the Tree of Life, and reached up to pluck a piece of fruit. There were so many colors to choose from. His fingers wrapped around a bright orange one, he pulled back and heard a snap as it detached from the stem. The branch sprung back into place. The fruit was cool to the touch and much heavier than Adam expected.
He peered over his shoulder at the Creator. He sought approval. Elohim smiled and nodded his head. What love shone in the King's fiery eyes.
Adam lifted the fruit to his mouth. On instinct, he opened his lips and bit into the skin. Sweet juices escaped the fruit and washed over his taste buds. The delicious nectar cascaded over his lips and down his chin. He devoured the juicy flesh and greedily plucked another fruit from the tree. This time he chose a bright purple one. This one differed in taste from the orange one. It was meatier, but still sweet.
"My goodness, they are all so delicious," he moaned. Adam proceeded to sample all twelve of the different colored fruits ripening on the tree.
It didn't take long before Adam felt full. He ran a hand over his bulging belly, convinced he'd pop.
Utterly content, his eyelids drooped. They felt so heavy. He could hardly hold them up. He rubbed his eyes. Michael and Elohim let out a chuckle.
"Come child," Elohim grasped Adam's hand and directed him over to a patch of soft grass, "What you are feeling is exhaustion. Your body needs rest. Lie down, close your eyes, and when you wake Rubeus will take you on a tour of Pardes."
Rubeus and Vipress climbed up to a branch that hung directly over Adam. They wanted to be close to him. Man drifted off to sleep. Michael strode over and stood next to the King.
"What do you think, Michael?"
It still amazed the Angel that the King in His infinite kindness and humility would ask him, a mere servant, what he thought.
"Master, you already know my thoughts. I think Man is amazing. He favors you, Elohim."
"Yes, I wanted him to resemble me, and even the Angels in form. He resembles us but lacks our strength. Michael, the Angels were created to be the instruments of my will, to be my strong hands. Mankind will have a different part to play in my creation. Mankind will have more free will even though I have set Angelkind a little higher than them."
"Thank you, Elohim, for creating us. Out of love, I will revere you for all of time." Michael bowed his head.
Elohim turned to face Michael. He was taller and put his gigantic hand on the Angel's shoulder. "Thank you, Michael. Let us go back home and let Adam rest. Meko awaits me."
Excerpted from "Rebellious"
Copyright © 2017 Jessica Fulcher.
Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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