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107 Facts About Celestial [Spoiler Edition!]


Well, here we are again. It's the second anniversary of Celestial's release, and to celebrate, I think it's high time I released a spoiler edition of "107 Facts About Celestial". Obviously, this article is a full-on look into the most revealing moments and secrets behind the novel, its characters, and its development. But if you'd like to learn fun facts about Celestial without the spoilers, you can enjoy my spoiler-free '107 Facts' edition that I released a couple years back here! There's no danger of reading key plot details there. Read and have fun!


 Otherwise, if you haven't read the book yet or plan to, here's your final warning...


TURN BACK! DON'T SCROLL DOWN! SPOILERS AHEAD! STOP!


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Are you still here?....Are we good?....Great! On with the facts!


#1. Celestial is about a warrior angel named Jediah who desires to experience Christ's salvation, and it is based most heavily on 1 Peter 1:10-12.


#2. However, since Jediah was an angel, writing such a story that stayed Biblically compatible yet satisfying to read was tricky. God was quite clear that redemption through Jesus is exclusively for humans. There’s no way around that, so finding a good resolution for a guilt-ridden angel was indeed the biggest hurdle.


#3. Ironically, Elazar (the book’s primary villain) became the answer to this puzzle. The more I pondered Jediah and his connection to this vengeful demon, the more I recognized a pattern that closely resembled our own relationship with sin.


#4. The Bible constantly revealed how deep-seated our sinful habits are. It also further exposes just how tumultuous the transition from loving and trusting our sin to loving and trusting God really is. Well, that similar feel seeped into Jediah and Elazar’s fictitious relationship, so before I even realized it, their ‘friends-to-enemies’ backstory adopted a whole new meaning!


#5. In fact, Jediah’s story arc (in proper John 1:1-3 and Romans 1:18-20 fashion) was symbolically written to mimic the Gospel in its framework.


#6. That’s right! From Jediah’s unexpected calling at the beginning of the story to Alameth’s sacrifice to the final showdown; this story in its entirety is a metaphorical representation of the Ephesians 2:1-9 journey! (Just re-read Celestial with Ephesians 2:1-9 in mind, and you’ll see it hiding in plain sight!)


#7. The rest of the angelic cast wasn’t left out of this salvation framework either. Celestial is no allegory, but every character was written specifically to express the all-encompassing importance of the Gospel in everything.


#8. The primary rule to this Gospel-centric framework was that no matter what each angel struggled with, their ultimate solution to their problems was the same as Jediah’s. (Just as it is in real life!)


#9. Each character was also individually written with particular Biblical messages in mind.


#10. Akela, the chipper messenger angel and Jediah’s chosen courier, was written as a literal manifestation of the book of Ecclesiastes—particularly the latter chapters. Though good things on earth are imperfect and fleeting, they are still gifts from God; reflections of His goodness; and for us to enjoy. Hence why Akela is so lively and optimistically curious.


#11. Alameth was certainly inspired by the angels of death described in Exodus 12:2 Chronicles 32; and Acts 12. However, it was 2 Corinthians 2:15-17 that inspired Alameth’s character arc from callous obedience for God to fully adopting and demonstrating His very nature.


#12. Yes. Nechum is naturally compassionate, but his secret role as God’s intercessor for others was largely inspired by Biblical figures like Abraham and Peter. Though God clearly told them what to do too, how it played out was unpredictable. Biblical servanthood is often like that. Obeying God’s call often means following an indirect path that feeds a greater result in a roundabout way. So by ministering the side-character (Alameth), Nechum secondhandedly minstered the main protagonist (Jediah).


#13. In a similar vein, Laszio and Eran were also written as commentaries on Biblical servanthood, but they take it a step further into how we identify ourselves. Like many Christians, the two are faithful and passionate but long to do bigger things for Yaweh. However, God’s exchange with David in 2 Samuel 6 and the message of 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 puts everything into perspective for them and us. Servanthood is never about what we do for Him. It’s about what He is inviting us to experience under Him!


#14. Like all stories, there were many beloved scenes that were cut from the final draft.

Four of such scenes were cut from the Io chapters alone!


#15. One scene involved the angels pausing their mission on Io to rest and worship on the Sabbath. An entire song and dance segment was choreographed for the piece. Sadly, it was removed to improve pacing.


#16. The second deleted scene from Io saw the main characters watching a group of nature angels in an arena match. The game these angels played was part of Celestial’s initial videogame design and would’ve served as a mini-game for the players. Celestial the book, however, had zero need for it. Thus, it got scrapped.


#17. The third deleted Io scene was when Jediah tried to teach Nechum how to use a sword. Hilarity ensued with Nechum’s pathetic attempts, but the scene would’ve taken a serious turn when Jediah accidentally cuts off Akela’s wings.


#18. However, after some adjustments to Nechum’s personality, the scene lost its importance, so Akela’s injury was moved to the ‘Battle of Io’ scene instead.


#19. The last Io scene on the chopping block involved Laszio and Eran venting their personal frustrations with each other while in an underground lava tube. I loved the scenery. I also loved it’s ending where the two settled down to share bits of manna, but ultimately, I couldn’t justify keeping it. It disrupted the story flow, and their heart-to-heart fit better near the end.


#20. Some scenes that did survive the final draft, though, were drastically altered.


#21. Chloe (the sick girl Jediah befriends in the hospital) wasn’t silent at first. An entire conversation was even scripted where Chloe speaks cynically of the Bible and Jediah tries to convince her otherwise.


#22. This dialogue took up several pages and hours to write, but once I realized Chloe was talking more like an adult than a child, it lost its believability.


#23. The final decision to make Chloe interact silently was inspired by other famous silent characters (like Snoopy and Gromit) and by the shier kids I’ve taught in my dance classes. Besides, truth conveyed through silence is often more impactful anyway.


#24. Another altered concept was Akela and Alameth’s dynamic. They were originally written to be at constant odds with each other.


#25. There was even a scene where Akela and Alameth have a private blowout that ends with Akela leaving Alameth in tears.


#26. The argument scene, however, was quickly scrapped along with several other quarrel scenes. Those moments simply made the angels way too antagonistic.


#27. The ending climax also looked incredibly different. In the final book, you have Jediah’s final face off against Elazar in Paris while the rest of our angelic heroes defend the Abyss from Lucifer and his army.


#30. The original showdown, however, had all the characters battling Lucifer, Elazar, and all the demons they previously captured throughout the story in one epic showdown.


#31. Though the scene was super fun, it sadly proved too long and cluttered to be followable. Plus, the main heart of the main conflict was getting lost in the noise, so the decision to isolate Jediah and Elazar’s fight for little Chloe’s life in Paris was made.


#32. Just like these cut moments, there were plenty of hidden characteristics and backstories for the main cast that weren’t featured nearly as much as I originally planned.


#33. As clutzy as he may be, Akela is actually a wizard mathematician and arguably the most intellectually intelligent of the group.


#34. Additionally, Akela’s rough landings aren’t really due to a lack of balance. He’s actually three times more powerful than the average messenger angel; which means he struggles to handle (let alone fully realize) his own strength.


#35. Alameth loves flowers. No kidding. He really really loves flowers. He’d happily spend days doing nothing but planting and tending gardens if he could.


#36. Actually, before the Fall, Alameth’s mists didn’t cause death and destruction. They produced colorful plant-life that grew twice as large and vibrant. As you can guess, the sudden change from life giver to death dealer took a heavy toll on him. (Perhaps, in my series, God will appoint him to tend His gardens once the new heaven and earth comes!)


#37. Jediah personally designed and forged his own sword himself, including the mechanic behind its retractable blade.


#38. A sword’s reach is typically longer than an arm’s length. Thus, the retractable blade design makes strapping Jediah’s sword to his back instead of his side physically possible.


#39. Jediah also loves letting his imagination run wild during his leisurely walks. His favorite thing to ponder? What his new special calling might be after the Sin Curse and the war is over. As far as he’s concerned, there are too many wonderful possibilities God might have planned for him.

 

#40. Eran was inspired to weaponize diabolos after recalling the time he watched two performers during a patrol mission in the ancient days.


#41. Laszio once stole a demon lord’s chariot while stuck behind enemy lines…and promptly crashed it. That audacious move saved his bacon though.


#42. Laszio and Eran didn’t gel well as battle partners at first. Laszio was brash. Eran was stiff. Then Laszio quipped a joke that sent Eran rolling, and the two were inseparable ever since.


#43. Nechum is actually a gifted percussionist. He’ll often use his force shields to form a drum and tap tones so clear they resonant on a chromatic scale. He could actually chime a whole tune if he wanted to.


#44. Nechum also was once stationed in London, and even served there during the ‘Blitz’ bombings of World War II. He did NOT regret being reassigned to the outer countryside later on.


#45. Celestial’s Biblically compatible and imaginative portrayal of angels required countless hours of Biblical research. This meant that while 1 Peter 1:10-12 provided the plot's bedrock, many more verses were utilized to fill the creative gaps within the story.


#46. One of these gaps included the need for a supernatural timeline.


#47. To give readers a sense that angels aren't any more distant from our world than God is, a full-blown angelic history that could coincide with human history was conceived. After all, the Bible clearly proved that (though they experienced it differently) angels were very much involved and affected by the world's events.


#48. Creating a Biblically agreeable and historically compatible supernatural timeline meant applying passages from all sixty-six books of the Bible along with a heaping ton of historical study to produce.


#49. By the end of it, two timelines were written. Yep! Two fictional timelines were concieved for Celestial. One defined by the angelic side; the other by the demonic side.


#50. These supernatural timelines were so complex, they weren’t officially finished ‘til a year or two after Celestial’s publishment. Only the eras that directly related to the novel were fleshed out. The rest was established later.


#51. Some of these eras included the ‘Tabernacle Age’ (as defined by the angelic timeline) which occurred simultaneously to the ‘Age of Gods’ (as defined by the demonic timeline).


#52. The Angelic Timeline was defined by God’s most prominent methods of revealing Himself to mankind during certain time periods.


#53. The Demonic Timeline was defined by the demon’s most prominent methods in their attempt to usurp God’s glory and authority.


#54. The ‘Age of Gods’ was heavily inspired by passages like Psalm 106:37-38 that identified false gods as demons. Considering the commonalities the mythological false gods had in personality and appearance with Biblical spiritual beings, it’s pretty easy to see how demons masquerading as ‘gods’ isn’t too far fetched to believe.


#55. As main antagonist, Elazar was certainly set up to oppose Jediah on a personal level. However, because of the concept of an ‘Age of Gods’, Elazar gained far more dimension in his character.


#56. Elazar was already planned to be stationed in Mexico and was always conceived as a ministry demon. This meant he’d be wearing his angelic type’s signature blue colors. Thus, his blue color scheme quickly determined which god he’d likely have been in the ancient days.


#57. That god was Huitzilopochtli - an Aztec deity known as the Blue Tezcatlipoca!


#58. As a result, Elazar’s attire and prefered weapon of choice are references to Huitchliapotli legends and Aztec culture.


#59. The hummingbird feathers lining Elazar’s coat is a shoutout to the god’s title as ‘Hummingbird of the South’, and his obsidian knife directly connects with the obsidian knives Aztecs commonly used for human sacrifices—often done in Huitchliapotli’s honor.


#60. Several historians believe millions of people were slaughtered to Huitchliapotli every year for over a century. This would arguably make Elazar one of the most successful serial killers in history—in Celestial’s interpretation of history of course.


#61. Another easy god-to-demon pairing was the warrior demon, Zivel, to the Aztec god, Xipe Totec.


#62. As a warrior demon type, Zivel wears their kind’s customary red colors. This matched him nicely with Xipe Totec, who’s well known as the Red Tezcatlipoca. This god was whom the Aztecs called, ‘Our Lord the Flayed One’. Considering the last we see of Zivel in Celestial, this is doubly ironic.


#63. Celestial’s upcoming prequel will take place at the tail end of the ‘Age of Gods’ and is planned to explore all it’s tumultuous (and possible) realities in greater depth.


#64. The appearances of the main characters themselves also harken to their pasts, personalities, story roles, and sometimes to the media that inspired them.


#65. To express his orderly and secluded nature, Alameth’s robes and cowl was imagined as a mix between Obi-Wan’s Jedi garb and Raven’s hooded cloak from the Teen Titans 90’s cartoon show.


#66. As battle partners, Laszio and Eran’s mirroring uniforms harken not only to their comradery but their incompleteness apart from each other. This concept comes full circle by the end when the two pair up to defeat Lucifer in the final strike.


#67. Akela’s close-fitting suit not only improves his aeordynamics. His lite leather guards across his chest and shoulders were added in reference to Hiccup’s flight-gear from the first How to Train Your Dragon film. They both have equally studious and curious minds, after all.


#68. The idea to give Jediah a scarf came from another chivalrous character: Ike from the Fire Emblem videogame series. Although Jediah generally wears his scarf loosely around the neck, he does briefly tie it around his forehead in Chapter 3 in reference to the iconic character.


#69. Nechum wears a shawl wrap in reference to the Traveler from the hit 2012 game Journey and to further express his kindly, non-violent nature.


#70. Speaking of videogame inspirations, Celestial was initially a videogame design too. Thus, there are many MORE gaming shoutouts hidden throughout the book!


#71. The ‘Prison Pool’ scene from Chapter 3 was directly inspired by Riven’s stone circle puzzle from the Myst videogame series.


#72. Nechum and Akela’s team-attack against Lucifer during the final battle mirrors Sonic’s battle against Dr. Robotnik in the 2020 Sonic the Hedghog film. Now, I actually came up with the scene long before the movie came out. It’s therefore not a built-in reference, but the similarity still certainly amuses me!


#73. The heart-wrenching battle against Alameth in Chapter 26 was inspired by the Xion boss fight from Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. When that game’s storyline forced me to purposely kill a heroic character that I liked, that emotional moment stuck with me for decades.


#74. Usually, I write my chapters in chronological order, but that particular chapter and its raw emotional draw knocked around in my brain so hard, I actually did what I virtually never do. I jumped ahead and wrote it. (Sorry! I just had to get it out of my head!)


#75. Yakum's character and his fixation on experimentation was partially inspired by GlaDOS from the Portal series.


#75. Celestial owes its very title to a videogame!


#76. Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is a DS game that heavily impacted me. It inspired me to become a game designer, which (in turn) lead me to becoming an author in the first place. Thus, my 'Angel Project' received the name 'Celestial'--both due to its meaning (of or relating to heaven; divine; supremely good; sublime) and in relation to an important Professor Layton character: Celeste.


#77. Of course, (since Celestial was primarily built by Scripture) there are twenty-times as much Biblical easter eggs in the story's lore.


#78. Many people tend to argue real angels look freaky. This mostly happens when readers take the Bible's depictions of angels at face-value. However, ancient writers seldom write as modern writers do. They usually describe the essence of in-describable things by using humanly graspable terms. Hence, it's fair to say the Biblical depictions of spiritual beings aren't always as clear-cut as it seems. Still, I pondered these hundreds of 'eyes' these heavenly beings are written to have. To help give sense to this in Celestial, I thought it'd be possible for God's all-seeing glory to fill the angels who stand the closest to Him so much; that it might refract out of them in millions of circular beams. Hence, you still get what might be considered many 'eyes' coming out of them in this book.


#79. The whole idea of wind angels being the rarest angelic type of all was inspired by the Bible's reference to Satan as the 'Prince of the Power of the Air' in Ephesians 2:1-2 and the fact that there are only four angels ever mentioned in Scriptures to hold back the four winds in Revelation 7:1. So yeah. In Celestial's take, Akela's friend Jedd is one of only four wind angels who are still loyal to Yaweh.


#80. Nechum’s words against Elazar, "Mene Mene Tekel Parsin," was directly drawn from Daniel 5:25-28. Their meaning was NOT lost on Elezar.


#81. Jediah’s line at the end of Chapter 23 is quoted from Ecclesiastes 3:15.


#82. The Mark itself was inspired by 2 Corinthians 1:21-22.


#83. The stairs Nechum generated to help him return to God's courts in Chapter 1 was a direct reference to Jacob's Ladder in Genesis 28:12.


#84. All of Lucifer’s transformations were drawn from all the creatures the Bible compared him to from serpents, to lions, to dragons.


#85. Jediah's role as the Keeper of the Abyss and his possession of the Holy Chains and the Abyss's key was directly inspired by Revelation 20:1. Apparently, there actually is an angel who's job fits this description!


#86. Angels calling humans 'Image Bearers' was obviously drawn from passages like Genesis 1:26 and 1 Corinthians 11:7.


#87. A few of the traditions observed by Celestial’s angels and demons were also based on middle eastern culture during Biblical times.


#88. A triumphant angel or demon planting their foot on the neck of their foe is a signal of dominance. Such a practice was common during Joshua’s era in the book of Joshua.


#89. The right of single combat was inspired by the real historical tradition as recorded in 1 Samuel 17, where David accepted and won that very same challenge posed by Goliath.


#90. Just as the Bible says no one can look God the Father in the face and live, neither has Celestial nor shall its future books ever attempt to literally describe His appearance. He's too perfect and holy. Not even the seraphs of Isaiah 6 can safely look at Him, so why should I try? I'd only fall criminally short.


#91. Of course, some parts of Celestial were drawn from my personal life too.


#92. Nechum’s song in Chapter 6 was a hymn my church sang often when I was little.


#93. Chloe's love for braiding hair was inspired by my younger sister. She loves doing all kinds of fancy braids and hairdos. She wanted to fix mine a lot when we were younger, no matter how much I resisted.


#94. Chloe's Grandfather was named after my grandfathers. His first name came from my Dad's dad, and officially his last name came from my Mom's dad. They both have passed away to be with Christ now.


#95. I love studying about various parts of the world. China is one of my favorites, and though I don't like their government or their erroneous religious practices, I have a heart for its people and culture.


#96. In the story, it was Jediah's unchecked zeal for the Lord that ultimately pushed Elazar into defecting from God's service. In real life, I too allowed my brashness and forceful way of expressing my faith to drive others away. It's something I regret to this day.


#97. I love going to amusement parks with my family. We often visit Disney World, King's Island, and Universal Parks, and they were the inspiration behind the Chapter 24 rollercoaster sequence.


#98. Nechum basically adopted my own appearance for his first human disguise of the book.


#99. The cat from Chapter 7 is a loving composite insertion of two of our beloved family pets. It has the appearance of our chubby calico, Cinnamon, and the behavioral characteristics of our first cat, Buffy.


#100. The benediction, "This is the day that the Lord has made..." in Chapter 2 was a benediction we often repeated in the church of my childhood.


#101. I named Chloe after a childhood friend of mine. We had several debates about Jesus and the Bible. As far as I know right now, she isn't saved in Christ yet. Still, I hope and pray the Lord either will reach her or has already gotten a hold of her since last we spoke.


#102. I also have a habit of studying the abnormal and strange. Hence why diving into the darker parts of the world with a Biblical mindset helped me carefully worldbuild the demonic side of things.


#103. Most of Satan's scenes in Celestial take place in the most famous area of Romania's Hoia Baciu Forest. It's a mysterious patch of ground where few things grow. Visitors reported seeing apparitions; experienced intense anxiety or nausea; and had their electronics short-out whenever they got near it. It's an eerie space often considered the most haunted on earth. Does it sound like a place you'd like to visit? Me neither.


#104. Isla de las Muñecas (The Island of Dolls) from Chapters 5 and 6 is also a very real place you can visit, and yes. It is indeed littered by countless dolls that locals and tourists left in order to 'please' the ghost of the girl who drowned there. Lots of creepy phenomena have been reported there too. Of course, as the Bible indicates, hauntings like these aren't the work of the deceased. It's the deceptive handiwork of demons.


#105. As you can see, I've done a lot of work to pre-plan Celestial before I started writing it, but the most important parts of the story were the ones I can honestly say were 100% unplanned. I can only describe those moments as Spiritually influenced. Seriously, I've got no other explanation for them other than Christ Himself suddenly leading me to type out the most pivotal points that tied the book's theme and purpose together. He made certain His signature came through, and He alone deserves full credit.


#106. Those most precious scenes were the sword scene from Chapter 17 and the Grandfather's scene in Chapter 33. Celestial wouldn't have worked nearly as well without them.


#107. Just like Celestial, it’s prequel, Celestial: Age of Silence, is also heavily fueled by a core Biblical passage. Want an inside peek into its heart? Read Ephesians 1:3-13.


"....For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the Beloved One....And He has made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to bring all things in heaven and on earth together in Christ...." - (Eph. 1:4-6, 9-10)


Well, that’s it! I hope you enjoyed this deep dive into Celestial’s background and some of its secrets and lore. I cannot thank my readers enough for all their love and support, and I am most supremely grateful to my Lord and Savior for granting me the privilege of writing it! All glory and praise are His!


If you’d like more fun triva, click here for the Non-Spoiler edition of ‘107 Facts’ about Celestial. You can also subscribe to my newsletter down below if you’d like more sneak peaks and special perks from me about FlyingFaith and the Celestial series! I’ll see you next time!


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