The Gospel According To Lucifer
by Titus Villanueva
It was over.
Satan sat alone in his dark realm thinking of how he could have prevented this. He was defeated at last. Being cast out of heaven during the Great War was enough, but this? This was an utter disaster. There was no more hope for reaping the souls of mankind to fuel his inevitable rise to power.
He had just lost the chess game of his career.
He needed souls. He needed souls with bonds so severe that God himself couldn't do anything to stop Satan from dragging them down to his realm; the souls of sinners.
Ever since "He" was born, he had been a thorn at Satan's side. First there was the prophecy, then he began attracting attention. Herod should have ended that boy's life long ago, but God's quick thinking prevented that. Satan's next move was to approach the boy in the desert and try to see if he could be tempted just like any man. Once again, his attempts failed. Time and time again, he made his move, but God was too quick for him. Eventually, Jesus' success began to grow and more and more people began listening to him.
You see it was here where Satan's biggest dilemma came in. He could get some of the weaker humans to oppose him, but that would lead to Jesus' death, and Satan knew that death was definitely not something that would help his cause. He knew what God was planning. The prophecies were clear. On the other hand, if he let Jesus live, more and more people would have followed him and he would lose more souls to God. It would seem that God had finally got the better of him. Defeat was inevitable.
As Jesus approached the age of thirty three, all Satan could do was try to prevent him from dying. Once Jesus died, it would be over. God would win. Unfortunately for Satan, God had an ace up his sleeve. His name was Judas. Nobody really knows why and how Judas did it. There were several theories, but he got the job done all the same. Jesus would die today. Satan could accept that, but this couldn't mean the end. There had to be a way to counter this.
Just as Judas had finished the deed, he took his money to the streets where he ran into an agent sent by Satan on the streets of Jerusalem. This agent sent Judas a vision…
The ground began to shake as the sky grew dark. The wrath of God himself was upon Jerusalem that night. Somewhere in the distance on a mountain called Golgotha a man lay there hanging by the flesh and bone of his mutilated wrists with holes stretching to his palms. His skin ripped from his very body and the bones and muscle on his back and chest exposed. His head bled as a flowing river as the thorns dug deep into his already cracking skull. His sweat was blood. His tears were blood, and even his breath was blood. For some reason, Judas could see everything. The dying man at this point had only three words left to say...
"It is finished..."
"It wasn't me!" Judas fell to his knees. "It wasn't my fault!"
A great guilt overcame him as the demon began to send him more and more images of his suffering friend. Judas had just murdered the best friend he ever had. He was going to burn either way, and every day he lived on earth would be a living hell. He would be cursed and hated among men. Never would he be able to live with himself.
There is no God. If he existed, how could he be so cruel as to force him to live this way?
Judas said nothing... He stood up and headed for the temple to return the silver.
That night, the betrayer bought a field, fashioned a noose and hung himself. The rope broke and Judas fell headfirst. As his body smashed on the rocks, his belly split open, and his blood and bowels, still reeking of wine and bread from the night before gushed out on the ground. Then he felt it... he finally saw the light. He was walking towards the most beautiful thing he ever saw. It was bright and... the color... it was none of the colors included in the visible spectrum of light. It was a color only the dead could comprehend and see...
"Judas of the Sicarii... you are damned."
With that, the light was extinguished and he was dragged in a direction that was neither up nor down, left or right. In seconds, he knew that he had already traveled a billion miles. When his eyes opened, he was naked in a dark realm of ice. The coldness felt like it was scorching his skin and wherever he stepped, the ice burned his feet. He heard no voices, but he could feel the screaming. As if the thousands of screaming voices were from his own pain. There was absolutely no light. He was absolutely alone in the coldest darkest depths of the universe (if he was even still in his universe).
"Circle Number Nine"
Then out of the darkness, Judas felt him moving close. The beast called out his name.
"Welcome, Judas of the sicarii… or rather should I say, Judas Iscariot. That's what the people up top will be calling you from now on. It's a clever corruption of your name. It's a shame many of them won't realize the poetic genius in such a name. Name a killer after what he's done. How are those assassins you used to hang around with by the way? They haven't been sending me enough souls."
"Who… who are you?" replied Judas
"Oh, you don't need to ask. I think it should be quite obvious to you around now. Level 9, Judas… You should feel special."
"Why am I here?"
"It wouldn't be fun if I just told you. That's the thing with punishment isn't it? Do we ever really know why it happens to us? Your people will invent a word for it, I reckon… Carmah or something like that. Why do you think you are here?"
"I killed Jesus of Nazareth…"
The devil burst out in laughter. He didn't laugh like a person would… it was rather more of the kind of laughter you hear in your head whenever you lose your job or miserably fail a test.
"That's the number one answer isn't it!? You have no idea how often that's going to come out. "Judas Iscariot is in hell for double-crossing Jesus of Nazareth". You're part right… I mean that's what everyone's going to think anyway. Would you be surprised if you were wrong?"
Judas' face shot up in shock…
"Think! Why did you betray him!? Was it even a betrayal?" asked Satan as if enjoying a good book.
"The movement was getting too far! The Romans would have killed us all! I had to kill one to save many! He wasn't going to fight back; he was leading us right to our deaths. I had to stop him! There were over 50,000 followers!"
"So you did it for your Jewish friends!?"
"Before I gave my life to him, I swore an oath to the resistance…I would go as far as kill to save Israel.."
"And kill you did… you think you went to hell for that?"
"You had to kill!" interrupted Satan "Human beings kill all the time to save lives, why aren't they all here then!? Why you? Why this specific murderer whose name means death. Why you, Judas of the sicarii and not another one of your assassin brothers? Simon's going to heaven by the way. Not that Peter guy; the other one; the one that wanted a rebellion,. They're even going to make him a saint, but here you are, Judas."
"Jesus was different…"
"Of course he was! I think it was painfully obvious that he was. Did you really mean to kill him? What made you do it then? I'm curious."
"I made the arrangement with the high priest. They bribed me… told me I could use the money for charity. When I got back, I didn't want to do it anymore. I decided to give them the money back… then…"
"Then what?" asked Satan genuinely surprised.
"He told me to do it… we were having supper. He said one of us would betray him, then he gave me a slice of bread and told me to do it."
"He did… didn't he… that's an interesting development… You killed him because he told you to…"
"I didn't want to, but I followed orders. They'd hate me if I were still living. They thought he was the son of God."
"Wasn't he? Who ever said he wasn't?"
Judas paused to ponder the matter…
"When God gives you an order, you follow it. Follow his orders and your tie will never be severed from him. If you were doing God's will all along, don't you think he would have pardoned you for that murder?"
"You were never going to Hell, Judas. God was willing to pardon you for your part in Jesus' death for whatever reason he needed to die. The wood of the suicides was the place for you, but I decided against it, and honestly I'd rather keep you here where we can talk. We have much to discuss. You could've stayed up there you know. After all, God intended for you to live through this."
"That was you… You sent me that vision..."
"Congratulations!" jumped the Devil in ecstasy "You win a lifetime vacation in circle number 9! I guess I owe you an explanation. My name was once Lucifer, you see. I know it's a sorry name for an angel given the last syllable was a "fer" and not an "el", but that's beside the point. God cast me down from heaven because he and I didn't agree. You see, your souls are fragments of our power; the power of God and the angels. I wanted to use them to become greater along with the other angels, but God… Hah… God just wanted them to exist. To live, love, learn or whatever pointlessness he had planned. We still can't comprehend why he created life in the first place. Maybe he was just bored, but I don't care."
When Satan spoke, Judas could see his words before him like a painting. He saw the war in heaven, Lucifer's defeat and the creation of Hell.
"God has a hold of every human soul on Earth. His will is what ties them to him, but once you disobey him; break his rules, that tie severs, and you're ripe for anybody to pick. Once those souls lose their ties, I nab them once they've left their bodies. I created this place to be a prison or my own personal soul storage…"
"Then why the torture… why punish us for giving you what you want?"
"I don't care about you! Why not punish you? Does torture need an explaination? I just enjoy it. Why should I care about your pathetic feelings? You are as artificial to us angels just as your own artworks are to you. You are lower beings… But you… no, not you. I have a very good reason to cause you pain. I went a good distance to get you here because you were the one apostle I thought I could nab. You are going to tell me what Jesus had planned or you will suffer more than you have to."
"Why do you need me to tell you?"
"I understand God's plans… I understand heaven and all its "glory". The thing with you, humans is… God gave you wills of your own and minds of your own. The problem is I can't see into the human world without help. I need someone to tell me what's going on or what's going to happen so I can act. I have some extent of foresight, but I can't see past pointless things. It's my curse. We've been at a chess game; God and I. He doesn't want me to have my souls? He creates men who obey him; I got them to disobey with a simple apple. He decided to introduce the idea of punishment by making them feel suffering on Earth, and I give them the idea of revenge and anger by making a man named Cain kill a fourth of the world's population. I introduced greed, lust and envy, but God always had a response. I enslave his people, and some guy named Moses sets them free, but I always had a response for him. I never left people alone, and in the end I always had my souls… Then it happened. God devised a master plan. He would send his son, an incarnation of himself into the world as a human! If there's one thing I can't understand and can't see, it's the human will. I don't know how you work. I don't know how you think. You are all so irrational! Sure I've tempted humans, but that was easy… to have to deal with God thinking as a human… that was a hard task. And to think it wasn't enough, Jesus was going to perform the ultimate sacrifice. He was going to use the pain of his death to retie every soul back to God. Don't ask me how it works. Mortals like you would never understand. Now I have no idea what Jesus planted there in those humans. Some of the prisoners here told me he was wise and convincing. That he taught people to stay true to God better than any of the prophets. I need to know what it is he did so that I can respond to this new threat. You will help me."
"If I don…"
Before Judas could finish, he felt a spear thrust right through his right arm. He let out a scream so bloodcurdling the demons felt pity. More daggers and blades penetrated his flesh as his screams of agony escalated, but muffled by Satan's cruel laughter.
"I could snap my fingers and the skin on your body could be torn clean off exposing every bit of you to the coldness of this place. They say the extreme cold is worse than burning."
"HE HAD A SET OF RULES!" shouted Judas to save his sanity.
"How different were they from those of Moses and Abraham?"
"They were just… overwrote the old books. He wanted us to live simply. He was against violence, he didn't want us to discriminate against those who didn't believe and act as we did. He told us that God and the government were two different bodies and we should treat them as such… Give to Ceasar what is his and give to God what his… He also wanted men to pursue the truth above many other things."
"Separation of God and state… that would be dangerous for me. An end to discrimination would be an end to a lot of hate in this world… not very good for me at all. Go on then! What else did he teach!?"
"Be good to others and treat others as you want them to treat you! Pray in secret! To do other people favors, is to do God favors. He wanted people to be more oriented to loving each other."
"Pray in secret!? What kind of stupid idea is that!?"
"He didn't want people to be overzealous. God favors everyone equally… When you pray in secret, you make the relationship between you and God more personal. He wanted religion to be a personal thing."
"An end to organized religion…that's terrible… how else would I start wars… This Jesus is a worthy adversary indeed… GO ON!"
Another dagger was thrust into Judas' back as if to encourage him to get to the point…
"HE TOLD US THAT IF WE JUST LOVED ONE ANOTHER, WE'D LOVE GOD DIRECTLY; THAT LOVE BETWEEN PEOPLE IS WHAT WILL REALLY TIE US BACK TO GOD! JESUS WANTED US TO BELIEVE IN HIM AND REMEMBER HIM! IF WE DID! WE'D ALL BE SAVED!"
"He seems like an interesting man… It's a shame he didn't give in when I tempted him in the desert. Thank you, Judas Iscariot..."
Satan called out for fire and Judas was engulfed in flames.
"NO MORE! GOD IN HEAVEN PLEASE! NO MORE!"
Satan laughed as he began to realize his victory. He knew God's earthly plan. He knew what God's son had planned for the world. He just needed to know one more thing."
"What is his name?"
"He must have appointed a successor; someone to continue his message and spread it. WHAT WAS HIS NAME, JUDAS TELL ME HIS NAME!" Satan shouted as he smiled straight through his teeth. "I need to get to him! I need to find him! He must have had someone, a son, a wife, a friend!? I need to know where his movement will start."
"He…NGAH!... R-r-rock… ch-church.. P-p.."
"SAY IT!" as Satan said this the fire grew hotter.
"PETER OF GALILEE!" screamed Judas with all his might.
With that, Satan was satisfied. He had everything he needed. He snapped his fingers and Judas felt pain more than a living person could imagine.
Just then, there was a burst of light. Light filled the room, the same color Judas saw before he was dragged to hell. There was an enormous breach in the walls of the chamber.
I am the way the truth and the life
"No… no, that can't happen. That's not possible… THIS IS MY WORLD!" exclaimed Satan
Who so ever believes in me, shall have everlasting life
Judas looked up… He had no choice. His eyelids were gone. He saw Him. Clothed in light and the sun, just like John said he was once; Jesus of Nazareth no longer human, but purely divine. Satan raised his arm to call fourth his defense.
"You were a fool to enter here so close to my grasp! To me! Angels of Hell! To me!"
Just then, Lucifer's servants materialized before them; burned and deformed wings if not wingless. On each of their foreheads was written the number 666, branded for their treachery, their wings ripped off and burnt to keep them below. Their faces once beautiful are scarred by slashes, burns and pierces sustained from the Great War. Each wielded a moderately curved steel sword.
Jesus raised his hand and from behind him came a massive host of angels. Each wielded a sword of pure energy and wings made of what appeared to be bright light. They flew in with the speed of arrows.
The harrowing of hell had begun. The room was then filled with battle cries of good and of evil. Jesus was the main target. Swarms of the dark ones charged towards him, but just as they got within his vicinity, they were obliterated. Eventually, Satan had no more angels and was forced to yield. The battle seemed a lifetime, but only lasted a minute.
"Judas… you are pardoned. You were my friend once, and always have been. Come with me now if you want to live." said Christ to the tortured man.
"What will become of me?" asked Judas in fear of the man he once betrayed.
"They will curse your name. They will make it a word for betrayal and they will hate you to the deepest depths of their hearts. You will be marked forever in the texts of history as the embodiment of evil. That was the price I asked you to pay for doing God's will; the price of saving mankind. You made the sacrifice Judas and you deserve more than this! Go now! Run!
As Jesus finished what he had to say, Judas' wounds were healed and ran straight through the breach.
"NO!" cried the devil
"You've lost souls today, Satan. You've lost plenty more. The sacrifice has been made." then Jesus disappeared back through the breach.
"You think you've won!? I got what I wanted! I still have a chance!"
The angels left behind Jesus, but one remained. Gabriel stood before the devil with a scroll in his hand.
"Will you accept the terms of your surrender? God has won today, and your reign is over. To avoid eternal punishment worse than your current fate, you must yield." Said Gabriel.
"To hell with your terms!" exclaimed Satan; this time smiling "I still have my past chess piece. Go back now and tell God that the game is still on."
"There is no turning back after this, old friend. There's still the lake of fire and glass for you."
"It won't happen. I will rise again more powerful than I've ever been; more powerful and more magnificent than God. I'll collect enough souls to fuel my rise to power and you will wish you took my side."
"So be it, Satan…"
Satan just laughed. He knew his plan was foolproof so he decided to gloat.
"Join me, Gabriel. I have a plan to take him down."
"You won't. We won't let that happen."
"I know what Jesus planted on that world of his. He's to start something… Judas mentioned something called a "church" whatever it is, that will be my weapon. This church will be mine."
Satan laughed manically as he said his next words.
"I'll corrupt every man and woman. This church seems doomed to spread to every corner of the earth and everyone would follow its teachings. The teachings will be mine. I'll fill their heads with so many rituals and traditions that they will forget Christ's true message. If Jesus wanted them to turn against violence and discrimination, I'll have my agents sow so much hate into them that they will kill those who do not believe as they do. They shall persecute everyone who does not share their opinions til the end of time! War will emerge on the globe. They will see it as a holy crusade, but they will be running into my trap. If he wanted the church and the government to separate, I'll have my agents tempt them to merge every ruling body with agents of this church! I'll merge every one of its affairs with the affairs of the state! No law shall be passed without the Church's acknowledgement! Politics will corrupt it!"
Satan's pace began to quicken as he began to sound like a child with a new toy.
"If he wanted them to value simplicity, I'll make sure that by the next few centuries, this church will be rich beyond their wildest dreams! I'll sow greed and gluttony among its leaders! This church will be organized! It will be a machine run by doctrine written by men and men alone! Heartless! Unreasonable! Religion will never be for the individual. It will be run by others and choice will be no option! Fear and hatred towards others will fuel this machine! If Jesus wanted them to pursue truth, I will make sure that machine's blind devotion to their own doctrines would hinder progress. I'll close their minds and have them stop others from pursuing the truth! They will live in darkness away from enlightening themselves. In fact, they shall persecute those who pursue deeper truths in the universe. With what I have planned, I will distort the face and image of Jesus of Nazareth in the hearts of every man, woman and child! They will be mine! Humanity will fall to sin and ignorance! In the end, after centuries have passed, people will see the damage it has done and they will lose faith in their beloved church. They will turn away from God and God's church will fall!"
"You're a fool, Lucifer" said Gabriel "to think humanity could be so stupid."
"We shall see, old friend… we shall see…"
As Gabriel left, the devil called one of his chief demons and said…
"Go to Earth and look for Peter of Galilee. Follow him and those who come after him and we shall guide them into our realm. Some will resist us and see reason, but I think we can take most of them."
The devil sat back on his throne, and smiled. Lucifer had just played his last chess piece.