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A Reason for the Serpents

Hello friends! I know you all have a burning question:

What’s with the creepy art for Malachi? 🐍😱

Well, I’m happy to say I’m here to give you a fun peak behind the curtains. But first, a little housekeeping!

As of now, most of our Kickstarter backers should have received their signed foil editions of Malachi and The Letters of Peter. You have been so patient and supportive as we worked through those two books and we are so grateful for the excitement we’ve heard from many of you. We are praying these books are life giving as you spend time sitting with them and reading.

📸 In fact, we’d love to hear what images are your favorites in each book. Write a short review. Snap a photo of your book. Reviews are an easy way to support us!

New illustrated paperback books Peter Reason for the Hope and Malachi Like a Refiner’s Fire

They are officially available for preorder and will start shipping April 2. If you weren’t in on the Kickstarter, grab a preorder now. All orders for these books placed before the release date will include the matching enamel pin—at least until we run out of what’s left from the Kickstarter rewards. 😉

Enamel pins collector items for books Peter: Reason for the Hope and Malachi: Like a Refiner’s Fire

Behind the Scenes: Malachi

We wanted to lean into capturing the moral rebellion and corruption depicted in Malachi’s short prophecy. It certainly ends in repentance and restoration and hope, BUT it's a pretty grim picture up to that point.

I really pushed Stephen to get creepy. However, we wanted to be careful that we didn’t depict Israel or the priesthood as inherently evil. Both do turn back to faithfulness at the end of the book. BUT not until they are deeply rebuked for distorting God’s law and conducting truly corrupt versions of the temple practices. These priests and the people of Israel are almost possessed by evil before they repent and find their way back.

Stephen Crotts' artwork and page layout from Malachi: Like a Refiner’s Fire

Working with Stephen Crotts, we had the idea to lean into one of his favorite past-times: snakes. He's constantly scouting nearby swamps for creatures and sometimes he'll post a story of his findings. So we picked up the serpent motif from Genesis 3 and Revelation 12, and crafted this idea for serpent-smoke. (You guys remember the smoke monster from “Lost”??) It became a way to convey this idea that the religious practices in the temple had been led astray by evil influence.

Stephen Crotts' artwork and book cover from Malachi: Like a Refiner’s Fire

There’s a central moment in the book where Malachi speaks about a coming day where God will return suddenly and vengefully reclaim his temple, casting out the corruption that has filled his holy people. The language is epic and hyperbolic, carrying an ominous tone. But it’s a moment of promise that is fulfilled in the arrival of Jesus and demonstrated, at least on a small scale, when he famously flips tables and chases out the merchants from the temple courtyard in Mark 11.

Stephen takes all the credit for the brilliant idea to connect these two moments in the climactic visual of our book. I was seriously giddy when we first pitched the sketch to me.

Stephen Crotts’ sketch from Malachi: Like a Refiner’s Fire

Stephen Crotts' artwork of Jesus flipping the tables from Malachi: Like a Refiner’s Fire

It was certainly atypical—maybe a bit risky— to try going so dark on this book. But if mankind was MADE good, then this was an opportunity to show the way the Bible portrays how we are led astray by the influence of sin and evil in the world. Any kind of repentance requires that we first acknowledge that we are broken and lost. And the more we recognize how dark things are, all the sweeter is redemption when it arrives.

Stephen Crotts' artwork and page layout from Malachi: Like a Refiner’s Fire

That's it for now. Go grab a preorder!

Also coming soon: some behind the scenes for Peter: Reason for the Hope and the Elijah book (Kings Pt. II: The Troubler of Israel)! Thanks again for joining and supporting us on this endeavor!

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