Brian Godawa’s new novel, Resistant: Revolt of the Jews, continues the saga of Chronicles of the Apocalypse that has, to date, given probably the most jaw-dropping novelization of the events leading to the destruction of Jerusalem ever printed. It also weaves in some incredibly unique elements, such as Godawa’s detailed portrayal of the demonic principalities (called the Watchers) that operate behind the scenes during each historical event that takes place in Rome and Israel.
I have to say, the way Godawa has fleshed out the history of the Watchers within a biblical framework in not only this saga but also in Chronicles of the Nephilim and Chronicles of the Watchers, has been nothing less than breathtaking and epic in scope, reminding me of the detailed world-building that one usually finds only in fantasy sagas such as Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time” or Tolkien’s legendarium. Though, to be clear, Godawa’s series is not of the fantasy genre like Tolkien, but a thrilling blend of historical fiction, biblical research, and the kind of spiritual warfare fiction that grounds itself in extremely thorough scholarship. I only use the fantasy fiction example to give you a sense of the scope of what Godawa’s created with all of his Chronicles. Considering how prolific he’s been, it’s hard to believe it’s only been four years since I first met Godawa and interviewed him about the Russell Crowe film “Noah” when his Chronicles novels were just beginning.
Like the first and second novels in the series, Tyrant: Rise of the Beast and Remnant: Rescue of the Elect, “Resistant: Revolt of the Jews” puts you in the middle of political, military and spiritual intrigue within the hierarchies of Rome and Jewish politics of the 1st Century near the end of Nero’s reign. Along the way, it presents a redemptive-historical preterist interpretation (aka orthodox preterist or partial preterist view) of the events of Revelation and other prophecies related to what we call the “end times.” Regardless of what you think about how the prophecies of the Bible apply to our current age, after reading Godawa’s novels (especially as the current Chronicles series moves closer to their climactic resolution), it’s undeniable how perfectly the Book of Revelation fits with the events that took place leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem.
As I mentioned in previous reviews, one thing is clear: the modern Western church has often overlooked the prophetic significance of the destruction of Jerusalem in the 1st Century and the events that occurred directly before and after it. Godawa’s saga shines an educational spotlight on that period of history while also including plenty of entertaining fictional elements.
My Favorite Thing About ‘Resistant’: A Huge Tale of an Ancient, Supernatural War, But Also a Moving Love Story
The historical detail is astonishing as you watch Godawa set the stage for Rome’s siege of Jerusalem, and the thrills and chills of the drama between the demonic principalities and angelic forces runs as a nice counterpoint to the unfolding of plot points between the human characters.
And while I’ve always enjoyed the huge scope and detailed historical setting in this series, my favorite element in this book is the moving love story of Alexander and Cassandra. The story of their relationship sits in the eye of a storm as history-changing events whirl around them. You feel a genuine anxiety as each new threat to their lives emerges and threatens their ability to stay together, care for each other, and care for the precious ones who have come into their lives. As a husband and father, I felt a kinship with Alexander and Cassandra. In our mad modern age, every day is a battle against fear as you fight to care for people you love and protect them. (This is a loose analogy, of course, few of us will ever face anything like what these characters experience in this novel.) But you really feel the worries that Alexander and Cassandra feel, and their love for each other is powerful and convincing.
And that just makes all of the action surrounding these characters that much more intense and engrossing to read.
Mature Content, Powerful Storytelling
As I’ve mentioned in past reviews, Godawa does not shy away from depicting wickedness, and I think that’s a good thing. He does so without sugarcoating it or downplaying the repulsiveness of evil, which means the novel has some intense, mature content (violence and sexual themes). But what Godawa does not do is write with needless graphic detail. He writes with restraint, but he describes the evil with honesty. It is a good reminder about the true potential for destruction and depravity that lies in human nature and only grows when it has not been transformed by the power of God.
Godawa leverages this approach to add weight and tension to a story that is already powerful and affecting. It adds more meaning to what is at stake in the drama. You can’t help but cheer for the glorious forces of good as they take on the evil. And as the huge scope of the tale gives you a panoramic viewpoint of one of the most pivotal events in history (Rome’s siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple), you feel as if you’ve been transported there with a time machine, watching all of it firsthand.
For those reasons I’m already excited about Book Four in the Chronicles of the Apocalypse: Judgment: Wrath of the Lamb.