My review of the Manga Bible Series continues on. As you may already know, I started with Mutiny in 2016. I then reviewed Melech in 2017. I am now sharing my thoughts on Messengers. As you can tell, this series has a pattern of its titles starting with the letter M.
This is the fifth installment of the series released in 2011. This is also the third book that chronologically follows the Bible. Ryo Azumi is once again at the helm as Script Writer and Artist. Messengers continues where Melech left off. King Solomon, son of David, is overseeing the construction of the new temple. Despite his wisdom and obedience, he gives himself to the worship of other idols. As a result God tears away Solomon's kingdom. This is the beginning of a long history of Israel as a divided kingdom.
Messengers helps guide the reader through one of the most unstable periods of Israels history. King after king. War after war, Azumi starts the reader off in the book of 1 Kings and ends in the book of Malachi.As the title alludes to, Messengers speaks on all the people God sends to Israel warning them about their disobedience. From prophets to priests, these messengers rebuke the defiant kings of Israel. They command them to repent of their idolatry and to turn back to the one true God that rescued Israel from the very beginning. Some messengers also share the prophecy of a coming saviour; a messiah that will be born in Bethlehem.
This volume tries to explain a turbulent era of the Old Testament for readers. This was always the most challenging part of the Bible for me to read. There was so much going on in this time frame for me to keep track of and remember. So to read this part of the Bible in Manga form was a welcomed perspective. Other key characters within this book are Elijah, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Gomer, Isaiah, King Josiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Esther.
A strength in Messengers is its consistency. The drawings continue to remain consistent as with their structure and style. The illustrations remain sharp and beautiful. Azumis depictions of each character are memorable and unique. Another strength of Messengers is how it explains a long detailed timeline of Israels history. I always struggled to make sense of all the names of kings, prophets, priests, and kingdoms along with all the surrounding nations at war. To read the Bible alone with no charts or diagrams was always overwhelming to say the least. Messengers helps the reader digest so much information in a simplified way. I was fascinated with their charts at the back of the book. Especially the Simplified Chronologically of the Age of the Prophets. This diagram shares who were the obedient and disobedient kings for each time frame.
To my surprise and disappointment, there was a lot of books left omitted from this entry. The books of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Joel, Obadiah, Michah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Zechariah were all not mentioned. Psalms being the longest book in the Bible was only mentioned for nine verses. I can understand the omission of the Wisdom Books, even though the story of Job could have been added in there. As marvelous as they are in knowledge, they dont speak on history from a narrative writing style. But I am a little confused why the other books were not added. I am also disappointed in the absence of more well known stories from the book of Daniel. For example, there was no mention of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. Or even Daniel in the lions den. These events were nowhere in the book. I did appreciate learning about lesser known stories such as Hosea, Gomer, and Esther. But it is unfortunate a few of these memorable stories went missing.
Messengers does an admirable job in navigating the reader through hundreds of years of history in under 290 pages. This was their most difficult challenge yet. While Azumis work is rich in context, it is deficient in content. The absence of several books and stories takes away from the whole purpose of this being a Manga Bible Series. There is one central message I walk away with from this volume. It is that obedience to God leads to life, while disobedience leads to destruction and death. I can either choose to love, worship, and obey God, or choose not to. The same choice these kings were given, is also given to us. In great patience and love, God sends us messengers, warnings, and plenty of time for us to choose life. Whatever choice each of us makes, we cannot say we were not warned.
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