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Accl A i m for Sou l’S Gate “Powerful storytelling. rubart writes with a depth of understanding about a realm most of us never investigate, let alone delve into. A deep and mystical journey that will leave you thinking long after you finish the book.” —Ted Dekk er, New Yor k times best-selling author of The circle Ser ies a nd For bidden (w ith Tosca lee)

“Tight, boiled-down writing and an intriguing premise that will make you reconsider what you think you know about the spiritual realm.” —Steven Ja mes, nationa l bestselling author of Placebo a nd opening Moves

“Soul’s Gate takes readers on a wild flight of fantasy into the spiritual realm, where we find the battle for our souls is even wilder than we imagined—and very, very real. With vividly drawn characters, startling imagery, and the power of a spiritual air-raid siren, the story is at once entertaining and breathtakingly enlightening. James l. rubart has crafted a stunning piece of work, a call to arms for everyone who yearns for the freedom of the abundant life christ promises us—and is willing to fight for it. rubart knocks it out of the park with this one.” —robert liparulo, author of the 13th tr ibe a nd Comes a Horsem a n

“Don’t read this unless you’re ready to see with new eyes. Through evocative prose and masterful storytelling, rubart transports you to the spiritual realm—a realm of vision, mystery, healing and power. A deep and thoughtful—and jet-propelled—spiritual journey of a book.” —Tosca lee, New Yor k times best-selling author of the Books of morta ls ser ies w ith Ted Dekk er a nd Demon: a M emoir

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Accl A i m for RooMS “Suspenseful . . . compelling.” —Publishers Week ly

“rubart’s novel takes an amazing, unique look at God.” —Rom a ntic times ToP PicK

“Rooms is one of the best books i’ve read in the past year. if you liked the Shack, i think you’ll like Rooms. if you didn’t like the Shack, i bet you’ll love Rooms.” —r a ndy inger m a nson, author of ox ygen

“A profound spiritual tale spun with imaginative flair.” —Ja mes Scott Bell, author of a ngels Flight (w ith Tr acie Peter son)

Accl A i m for Book oF DaYS “. . . rubart has created a page turner.” —Publishers Week ly

“rubart has again created a unique and amazingly thought provoking novel.” —Rom a ntic times

“rubart combines scripture with legend to create an engaging tale of selfdiscovery . . .” —Chr istia n R eta iling

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“Well crafted and full of plot twists and turns . . . will appeal to fans of Ted Dekker.” —libr a ry Jour na l

“rubart is one of my favorite new authors . . . a master storyteller with his second release as good as or better than Rooms.” —ex a miner.com

“James l. rubart is a storyteller who pricks the heart of our generation and causes us to think about where we’ve been and where we’re going. Book of Days is a must read.” —r achel H auck, best-selling author of the Wedding Dr ess

“Book of Days is a great read, why people buy novels.” —Da n Wa lsh, awar d-w inning author of the unfinished Gift

“[in Book of Days] rubart crafts a terrific story that is equal parts fast-paced thriller, thought-provoking allegory, and moving drama.” —r ick Ack er, author of When the Devil Whistles

Accl A i m for tH e CH a iR “James rubart is one of my new favorite authors. the Chair has the same depth and creativity as Rooms, and it was impossible for me to think of anything else until i finished it. i can’t wait for his next book!” —Ter r i Blackstock, best-selling author of intervention a nd Vicious Cycle

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“romance, mystery, danger, betrayal . . . and most of all, a message of healing and restoration. Taking readers far beneath the surface, rubart masterfully paints a picture of God’s depth of love and longing for relationship with even those who are running away from Him as fast as they can. A tale of unimaginable sacrifice and unconditional love that will tug at your heart long after you’ve completed the last page.” —K athi m acias, awar d-w inning author of Deliver M e from evil

“rubart has a stellar ability to communicate spiritual truth through a highly original, well-told story . . . a compulsively readable tale.” —Rom a ntic times

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Soul’s

GAtE

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Soul’s

gAt E A W e l l S P r i n G n ov e l : B o o K 1

James L. RubaRt

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© 2012 by James l. rubart All rights reserved. no portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Published in nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas nelson. Thomas nelson is a registered trademark of Thomas nelson, inc. The author is represented by the literary agency of Alive communications, inc., 7680 Goddard Street, Suite 200, colorado Springs, co 80920. www .alivecommunications.com. Thomas nelson, inc., titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. for information, please e-mail Specialmarkets@Thomasnelson.com. Publisher’s note: This novel is a work of fiction. names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental. Scripture quotations are taken from HolY BiBle: neW inTernATionAl verSion . copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, inc. Tm Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. neW AmericAn STAnDArD BiBle , © The lockman foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission. Holy Bible, new living Translation. © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, inc., Wheaton, illinois 60189. All rights reserved. THe enGliSH STAnDArD verSion. © 2001 by crossway Bibles, a division of Good news Publishers. the Message by eugene H. Peterson. © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000. Used by permission of navPress Publishing Group. All rights reserved. HolY BiBle: neW inTernATionAl reADer’S verSion . copyright © 1996, 1998 Biblica. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of Biblica.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data has been applied for. iSBn 978-1-4016-8605-5 Printed in the united States of america 12 13 14 15 16 QG 6 5 4 3 2 1

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For Hall, for making my dreams come true

“our fight is not against human beings. it is against the rulers, the authorities and the powers of this dark world. it is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly world.” Paul of Tarsus to the ephesians, AD 62

“there are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. one is to disbelieve in their existence. the other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. they themselves are equally pleased by both errors.” c. S. lewis

“We are locked in a battle. this is not a friendly gentlemen’s discussion. it is a life and death conflict between the spiritual hosts of wickedness and those who claim the name of Christ.” francis A. Schaeffer

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oNe

r eece roth spun at the sound—a dull scr ape like log on log. But there was nothing behind him except a small pile of driftwood worn white by years of ocean rain and wind. A shadow flitted in the corner of his eye, but as he turned farther to his left, the darkness vanished. His heart pumped faster as he took another quarter turn to complete the circle. His feet dug into the russet sand, his gaze darting from ground to sky, taking in everything—seeing nothing unusual. only waves and seagulls and an endless beach stretching beyond his sight both north and south. But the sensation that skittered up and down his back didn’t come from his imagination. reece forced himself to breathe slower as he brushed his thick graying hair back from his forehead and squinted at the orange sun sinking below the horizon. Calm. abba’s peace. embrace it. He needed to be here. To get comfortable with doing this again after so many years away. You killed them. The thought slammed into reece’s mind like a fist to his temple. admit it. it was your arrogance. Your pride. Just like you’re going to kill the four of the prophecy. You will fail again. “no.” reece squeezed his eyes shut. it wasn’t the truth. take every thought captive. every idea. He prayed against the attack and a few moments later the

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thoughts melted away. The power inside him was more than enough to counter any kind of assault. Without question reece’s head knew it was true. if only his heart could believe with the strength it used to. He looked up the beach to his right. A hundred yards away two men in tan pants and white T-shirts seemed to materialize out of the dusk. They strolled toward him, glancing between the waves and the rocky cliffs to their left. A blast of wind shrieked into reece’s ears and kicked sand into his eyes. He slammed his eyes shut and covered his face. When he lowered his hands and opened his eyes, the two men stood ten feet away. Smiling. reece’s heart rate spiked. “Good evening, reece.” The man on the right flicked his finger toward the orange-and-red-smeared clouds and the sky turned dark. He motioned again and the thundering waves froze in place as if they’d been doused in liquid nitrogen. “You don’t mind, do you? Always nice to set an appropriate mood, you know?” “Greater is he that is in me.” reece riveted his gaze on the two men. “Yes, we’re familiar with that sentiment. Thanks for bringing it up.” reece stumbled back a step. “Jesus.” The man on the left smiled wider and pointed in back of reece. The wood-on-wood sound filled the air again and reece glanced behind him. What was a pile of driftwood minutes earlier had morphed into a sort of hut, maybe three feet tall and four feet wide. He turned back to the men. “You have no power over me.” “really?” The man on the left pointed behind him again. “You might want to look out, old man.” Something heavy slammed into his upper back and reece lurched to his hands and knees and gasped for air. A moment later the hut thudded down around him. A driftwood cage. “comfortable?” The first man sauntered through the sand toward reece and the other man followed. reece shoved his huge six-foot-five-inch frame hard against the

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driftwood logs that made up the ceiling and grunted. nothing. The structure was like concrete bolted to the ground. “Don’t exhaust yourself. You won’t escape.” “You can’t stop me.” reece reached out and wrenched on the wood in front of him, but it didn’t budge. “of course we can.” The man laughed as he bent down, his face inches from the wood, and stared into reece’s eyes. “if you try, we’ll take you out again. like last time so long ago. You think you’re ready to train them? You’re not even close. You know that. So do we. consider this a friendly warning, for old time’s sake. Stay away from the four. Drop the idea of taking them to Well Spring. cancel the trip. if you do, we won’t go after them and we’ll leave you alone. All those concerned will be much happier.” “in the name of Jesus get out of—” “Good-bye, reece. Please believe us, it will be extremely unprofitable for you—and for the four—if you attempt to go through the gateway into someone’s soul ever again. consider what is about to happen in the next few seconds an example as to what would come your way if you do.” The second man winked at reece, then swirled his toe in the sand in a tight circle. As he did, the ground under reece’s knees and palms gave way and he was sucked down into the sand. Grains poured over his head and forced their way into his mouth, covering his tongue and scraping down his throat. He choked, his head jerking forward, his lips parting, allowing more sand to jam its way into his mouth. He tried to suck in a breath through his nose but the sand filled it. The sand around his body thickened, pressing reece’s arms against his hips, pressing the remaining air out of his lungs. The darkness surrounding him grew and seemed to fill his mind. No. Fight this. Have to get out of here! The pressure on his body increased and the blackness swallowed him. Your blood, Jesus, your power, now!

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tWo A n instant later the sand around r eece vanished. early morning sun shot through the maple trees in his backyard and spilled over him. He heaved forward in his chair, huge coughs racking his body and filling the Pacific northwest air. He blinked and gasped, his hands clenching the arms of his teak chair. How long had he been . . . ? His watch said seven fifteen. He’d been inside for an hour and a half. Too long. He shouldn’t have pushed it that far. reece stared at the fire pit in front of him. The flames had died out but the coals still burned red, throwing off enough heat to warm his hands. He let the warmth seep into his palms for a moment, then rubbed them against his face and over his head. He shivered in spite of the fire. The sweat that soaked through his Beatles T-shirt made the cool late spring morning colder. He slipped onto his knees on the stamped concrete that surrounded the fire pit and leaned forward, hands on his legs. “i can’t do this, lord. i’m not ready.” it’s time. and there is little time left for you to do what must be done. “You saw what happened in there.” Yes. “And i’m supposed to train them to do what i didn’t just do?” Silence. “You heard what they told me, lord.” nothing. reece stayed on his knees for another five minutes, allowing his emotions to settle. finally he rose to his feet, grabbed

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the thick, gnarled stick next to the ring of large stones that made up his fire pit, and spread out the coals. no chance of a spark lighting anything on fire even if it did escape, but it couldn’t hurt to be safe. He stared at the embers as he moved the stick through them in a slow circle. Should he postpone the trip? Get more prepared? Going in this morning should have been simple. The soul he’d entered should have been a safe place to practice. it made no sense. it was meant to be a straightforward exercise, a test to make sure he still knew how to go in and get back out safely. To build his confidence for when he taught the four how to do it. To make sure he could protect them. But he’d blown it. They were leaving for colorado in five days. He should have practiced every day since he embraced his destiny to train them. Why had he waited so long? Simple. fear hounded him. He was scared of being back on the front lines. Scared that it would turn out exactly as it had just now. Scared that the nameless ones were right and he would only usher in more death. He glanced at his watch again. Seven twenty-five. in a little over thirty-two hours he’d head for Snoqualmie falls, introduce the four to each other, and give them a few final thoughts before heading for Well Spring. And what would those thoughts be? He didn’t know. reece set his fire stick down next to the pit, closed his eyes, and shook his head. He should call it off. He couldn’t train them in his current spiritual condition. i am in this. i will walk with you, every step. “You were in that? Just now? Where?” Again, silence. He picked up his old beat-up tan Stetson, put it on, and stood. As he stepped the one hudred yards from the fire pit to the back door of his two-story log cabin twenty miles northeast of Seattle, reece again mulled over what he would tell the four tomorrow at the falls. They needed inspiration. They needed to believe, erase any doubts about going. reece pushed away the fear that continued to

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lap at the edges of his mind. He needed inspiration. He needed to believe. reece pulled out his cell phone with shaking fingers. “Hello?” “i have to talk, Doug.” reece clomped up the stairs to his back deck and sat rigid in one of his polished wooden chairs, his body still twitching. “About?” “Well Spring. The prophecy. All of it.” “You were attacked when you were inside.” “You’re not surprised.” “Something felt wrong when i was praying for you.” reece pushed his hat back and rubbed his forehead. “Something was definitely wrong.” “i apologize, friend. i cannot chat at the moment. i have a call on the other line and the rest of my day is absurdly full, but i can chat late tonight or anytime tomorrow from midmorning on.” “i’m seeing all of them tomorrow afternoon. i want them to be introduced to each other at least once here before we head for the ranch together. What if i were to call you on the way, say around three thirty?” “That will be fine. in the meantime remember, courage is not the absence of fear, it is action in the face of fear.” reece hung up the phone and stared at it. Doug’s words were true. it was enough. for the moment. But even if it wasn’t, did reece have an option? if the Spirit was in this and the prophecy was true, the only choice was to step into the battle and swing his sword till there was no breath left within him. reece pulled a yellowed paper folded in quarters from his back pocket. Had it really been thirty years since Doug had stood in front of him and spoken the words? He opened the paper and smoothed it out on his knee. There will come a day when you will train them—they will be four. The song, the teacher, the leader, the temple. Keep your

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eyes open to see, your ears open to listen, your heart open to feel, and your mind open to discern. When the time comes, the Spirit will reveal each of them to you. You will teach them the wonders of my power they can’t yet imagine. And instruct these warriors how to go far inside the soul and marrow. They will rise up and fight for the hearts of others. They will demolish strongholds in the heavens and grind their enemies to dust. Their victories will spread across the nations. You will pour out your life for them and lead them to freedom, and they will turn and bring healing to the broken and set the hearts of others free. And when the wolf rises, the four must war against him and bring about his destruction. only they have hope of victory. And for one, their vision will grow clear, And for one, the darkness of choice will rain on them, And for one, the other world will become more real than this one, And for one, death will come before the appointed time.

He folded the paper and put it back in his pocket. five days from now reece would explain to Brandon, Dana, marcus, and Tamera that they were the four. And pray like mad they believed him.

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tHRee Br andon Scott held the last chor d on his m artin twelve-string till its amplified sound was smothered by the roar of more than four thousand fans crowding the SDSU open Air Theatre in San Diego. Seeing the audience with raised arms, pouring themselves out to Jesus, used to be an ocean of bliss pouring over him. These days? He didn’t feel anything. Where are you, lord? Brandon shuddered and let his head drop to his chest. The ache inside seemed to burn through his dark blue T-shirt. So many people right in front of him wanting hope, wanting joy, longing for life, and all he could offer was a formula he’d pumped out seven times this month alone on stages across the country. As his head remained down, a smattering of applause floated toward him. They probably thought he was praying for them. He should be. The words of the song he’d just sung were strong and true and eloquent. many would be moved by them. But to him they’d turned into words he’d sung too many times for too many years. Where had the old days gone when the Spirit flowed and it didn’t even feel like he was playing? The days when there was no set song list, when he played whatever God told him to play at that moment? The days when he’d stop in the middle of a song and pray for someone in the audience God told him to pray for? vanished. That’s where those days were. one more song. one more and the concert would be over. Grind it out. Come on. let’s go.

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“You okay?” “What?” “Wake up, bro. one more, right?” His bass player, Anthony, bumped his shoulder into Brandon’s. “You with us?” Brandon raised his head and forced a smile. “Just pausing for dramatic effect.” Anthony laughed, which always made his ultralean frame shake like a lopsided blender. Brandon glanced at the rest of his band and started the count for the last song, “one, two, three, four!” The band kicked into his signature closing song, “run Wild, run free,” and they played it flawlessly. At least Brandon hoped they did. His mind was on his meeting tomorrow. Was he really going on that retreat thing? Sure, why wouldn’t he? Three minutes and forty-two seconds later, Brandon held his guitar high in the air and pointed at the sky as thundering applause filled the arena. “He is King! He is lord!” Brandon waved to the crowd— flashing a big fake smile—then darted off the stage and down the stairs that led to the dressing rooms. The praise from the crowd seemed to follow him through the corridor, its sound reverberating around him but leaving a metallic taste in his mouth. Because it was all a lie. He was a lie. Didn’t used to be. But for the past three years? Yep. Going through the motions. Was God still part of it? Were people still being reached? Probably. He hoped so. Hard shoes clicked on the floor behind him. Brandon didn’t bother to turn around. it would be Kevin Kaison. Why was the guy managing him? All the girls Brandon knew said Kevin should be modeling. He had the look—five foot nine, brown hair, lean build. He had the vibe, people liked him immediately, and he was smart. Brandon wasn’t going to push Kevin away—he made life on the road and in his marketing and everywhere else run like a finely tuned Jaguar, but managing him couldn’t be the end of Kevin’s desires. Two more clicks and Kevin was beside him, matching Brandon’s swift stride.

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“Sweet show, pal. They love you here. of course, they love you everywhere.” “Thanks.” “What song are you doing for an encore tonight?” Brandon shook his head. “no.” “You don’t have a song named that.” Kevin whirled and walked backward in front of Brandon. “i’m not doing an encore tonight.” “You’re not?” “no.” “What?” “no.” Brandon picked up his stride. “i heard you the first two times.” “Then why’d you ask again?” “it was a rhetorical what.” Kevin smacked his hands together. “We need an encore.” “my no wasn’t rhetorical.” “Stop.” Brandon stuttered to a stop and folded his arms. “Yeah?” Kevin adjusted his Kangol glasses and pointed back down the hallway. “They’re expecting an encore. i’m sure you must have an excellent reason why you’re not doing one.” “i’m wiped out.” Brandon pressed the tips of his forefingers into his eyes until stars appeared. “look at me, Brandon.” “okay.” He offered Kevin a half smile and leaned forward. “i’m seeing you.” “Who am i?” “Who are you?” Brandon chuckled. “Yeah.” Brandon folded his arms again and leaned back against the light gray concrete wall to the side of him. “i’m sure you have a point to this.” “i’m guessing ‘i’m tired’ works wonders with other people, but

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i’ve been your manager for six years and your friend even longer. You’re at the breaking point.” “i’m fine. Just tired. We’ve only had three days off in the last five weeks.” Kevin waved his hand back down the hall toward the stage again. “This is the fourth city in a row that has gone crazy asking for an encore, and the fourth city in a row where you’ve refused.” “really. The fourth? i thought it was only the fourth.” “That’s hilarious.” “Thanks.” Brandon made a half turn and wiggled his thumb toward his dressing room. “can i go now?” “What’s going on with you?” “like i said, i’m tired. i just need some sleep. A few days off the road and i’ll be back to normal.” “You haven’t been normal for a long time.” Kevin looked up and down the hallway. “You need this getaway with reece.” “You barely know the man.” “True, but i know he cares about you. i know he can’t play the drums but thinks he can.” Brandon laughed. “He wasn’t that bad, and the band had a good time with him sitting in for a couple of songs.” “And i know him enough to know you need to go.” Brandon shrugged. “Yeah, maybe.” “That doesn’t sound convincing.” “i know, but i’m not exactly in the greatest place spiritually these days.” “Do i need to say it?” “That’s exactly why i have to go.” Kevin tapped his nose. “And, uh, do you think God’s telling you to go on this thing?” “Yeah.” “You’re sure?” “Yeah.” “checkmate.”

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Soul's Gate  

Reece stood and faced the group. “Every now and then we get a break from reality. A glimpse into the other world that is more real than the...

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