Okay, so this is different, but I thought it would be fun to put out a sneak peek of one of the chapters I was just working on for my book. This chapter basically stands alone as Darius is telling the narrator, Will, what he knows about demons.
“I don’t know, Darius. What do you know about demons?”
“Well, I know what they taught in seminary, but I can’t say that’s anything I really thought about at the time. If you want to know what I really know, I can only tell you what my grandma back in Louisiana used to tell me.”
“She told you about demons, huh?”
“In a way, yes. See, I don’t know if you knew this, but my grandma on my mom’s side was from Ethiopia. She didn’t move over here until she was in her thirties, then she met my grandpa, and they had my mom, so she was close to seventy before I was born. Still, she lived another twenty years, and I was her favorite audience as a little boy. I called her ‘Abai,’ which she taught me meant Grandma, and I used to sit on her knee every night as she would tell me stories that she had heard growing up. Thankfully, she translated them into English from her own Amharic, but sometimes she’d mix in the original names to keep it poetic.
“Her favorite stories where Bible stories or stories about the history of Ethiopia. She told me about how Matthew, the disciple, spread the Gospel to the Ethiopians after Pentecost, and how Ethiopia was one of the oldest Christian nations in the world, going back to the 4th century. She told me about the rich history of their churches and the stories that were passed down from that time to now.
“When I was a little older, she told me about the Book of Jubilees, which was an ancient Jewish text, part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and part of the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible that she grew up with. It was all about the earliest days of mankind and the angels, and it had its own origin story for what we call demons.”
“Okay, I’m intrigued,” I offered as I got comfortable in my chair. I was prepared for a nice story time from Darius’s Abai.
“Well, according the Book of Jubilees, God sent 200 Watchers down to the earth in the time before the flood. They were some of God’s best angels, and they were supposed to watch mankind to make sure that Man followed God’s laws. They were entrusted with delivering justice in God’s name. After watching us for a while, though, they started to desire the mortal women, for they thought they were God’s most beautiful creations. Eventually, their leader, Samyaza, convinced all the Watchers to rebel with him, so he wouldn’t be punished alone for wanting the human women. They stole away some of the human women to marry them, and they taught Man about astrology, necromancy, and how to fashion weapons for murder.
“They bore half-angel offspring, called the Nephilim, who were giants and mighty warriors, but they were also cruel and tortured mankind. The Nephilim had their own children, the Elioud, who were even more cruel. Each of the Nephilim and Elioud wanted to rule our earth as kings, so they battled each other for 500 years, killing one another and the men, women, and children that got in their way or worshipped the wrong Nephilim and Elioud.
“God was horrified by what they had done to his creation, and he sent a flood to kill them along with the rest of mankind, except for Noah and his family. When the Nephilim and Elioud were killed by the flood, their spirits were torn from their bodies and lived on. Since they were still half-spiritual beings, unlike man, they could fully experience death while still living, but only as disembodied spirits in pain and anguish.
“After the flood, God was going to cast all of their spirits into Tartarus, a place of eternal darkness, as punishment for corrupting men. Before he damned them, though, one of the Archangels who was responsible for testing mankind, Mastema, asked God to leave him one-tenth of the spirits to use to test men before God’s final judgment, when Mastema and the spirits would be cast into eternal darkness with all the sinners that they trapped. In the Book of Jubilees, God granted the request, and they were dispersed across the land to test man. This army of the sons of Nephilim and Elioud under Mastema could no longer have physical bodies and they were restricted in many ways, but they could tempt man to do evil before God, and they could even inhabit willing bodies or use their powers to kill when God allowed it. God allowed Mastema to test Abraham, and it was his idea that he should sacrifice his son until God delivered them both from Mastema’s plan. It’s even said that Mastema aided the Egyptian magicians against Moses, but was then unleashed as the last plague against the to murder all the firstborn of Egypt with his own hand.
“That remnant of roaming spirits, spared going to eternal darkness for now just so they could test more men and possess the sinful, following orders from Mastema, the bringer of damnation, those are the demons I fear when I’m alone.”
“And you were how old when your grandma bounced you on her knee and told you about the evil giants and baby-slaying demons?”
“Yeah, Abai was from a different time, with different rules for bedtime stories,” Darius had to laugh a little, at the absurdity of telling a child about the origin of demons, and to cut the tension we both felt even talking about it.
“So, for the record, you’re going with the disembodied spirits of the ancestors of the corrupted Watchers, cursed to walk among us without physical bodies after experiencing death, and tasked to test us before God? I don’t know if I’ll sleep tonight, but I also don’t have a better answer to the question of demons.”