- Iscariot: Chapter 1 – In which we meet Pontius Pilate and learn about an obscure Goddess.
- Iscariot: Chapter 2 – In which we meet Jesus of Nazareth, his brother James, Simon the Zealot, and Donny, one of King Herod’s slaves
- Iscariot: Chapter 3 – In which Judas splits a bottle of wine with Mary Magdalene, daughter in law of the almighty.
- Iscariot: Chapter 4 – In which we learn that Jesus is not scared of lightning. Also Kelsey, the formerly barren lady from Chapter 2, has become fertile and now it’s a whole thing.
- Iscariot: Chapter 5 – In which we learn that just because you have love for all things, doesn’t mean you can’t get annoyed by certain peoples antics.
- Iscariot: Chapter 6 – In which Menahem asks, “Are you there, God? It’s me, Menahem.”
- Iscariot: Chapter 7 – In which Pontius Pilate learns who King Herod is and what King Herod do.
- Iscariot: Chapter 8 – In which we meet Martha, wife of Judas, and she’s a delight.
- Iscariot: Chapter 9 – In which we meet the remaining apostles at the Passover feast.
- Iscariot: Chapter 10 – In which Pontius Pilate reminisces about the good ol’ days.
- Iscariot: Chapter 11 – In which there’s a bit of exposition until the angel Lucifer shows up and has a brief chat with Judas.
- Iscariot: Chapter 12 – In which we are made aware of the political situation in Rome.
- Iscariot: Chapter 13 – In which the Passion of the Devil.
- Iscariot: Chapter 14 – In which we meet the rice goddess Inari and a fox named Mrs. Noodles.
- Iscariot: Chapter 15 – In which Mary, Martha, and Kelsey meet a Behemoth and the story passes the Bechdel test.
- Iscariot: Chapter 16 – In which Judas and Jesus travel through India and learn about road building.
- Iscariot: Chapter 17 – In which (much like in Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 8) there’s a wedding.
- Iscariot: Chapter 18 – In which crucifixion shmoosifixion. Jesus and Judas are back, baby!
- Iscariot: Chapter 19 – In which we extrapolate upon the Ascension a little bit.
- Iscariot: Chapter 20 – In which Judas and Mary have a pre dinner drink, and we leave them there.
I think that as a religion, the Christians should reevaluate their position on Satan. (Or is it Lucifer?)
Other than the book of Revelation, which is problematic at best, the only actual dickish things he does are in Job. The text says that Satan hangs out in heaven from time to time and God sort of blasé about it. As the story goes, God called a meeting of all of his angels. When the Dark Lord showed up, God says unto him, “Oh hey. Where have you been?” (Which is a weird question for an omniscient being.) and Satan responds with, “To and Fro. I was just sort of walking around the Earth for a bit.”
The reason that God called the meeting in the first place was to tell everyone how much Job loves him. Like. That was the whole purpose of the meeting as far as I can tell. “Guys, I called this meeting to tell you how much this one dude loves me.” Which is also weird. Satan plays devil’s advocate…(Oh hey! I just got that.) and says, “K. But it’s just because his life is pretty great. That’s probably why.”
To which God replied, “Nah.”
To which Satan replied, “Totes.”
The book of Job then sort of goes on for a bit showing how shitty the tag team of God and Satan can make Job’s life. The pair kill Job’s whole family, burn down his house, and destroy his farm and all of his livestock. Sure, Satan is doing those things right alongside God, but am I wrong to wonder who the bigger jerk was in that situation? I mean, it’s basically the plot of Hackers with Job’s faith representing the Gibson.
And that’s really it. His temptations in the gospels are hardly evil. In Ezekiel 28, God is speaking about the King of Tyre. Isaiah 14? He’s very clearly talking to the King of Babylon. Some say that he’s the snake in the Garden of Eden despite no evidence for that being presented. Even if he was, the biggest sin he committed was getting Adam and Eve to wear pants and learn the difference between good and evil. I mean, shit. Maybe using Comic Sans really is worse than anything he’s done.
In any case, I contend that he’s not that bad. Kind of a dick, but not that bad.
In which there’s a bit of exposition until the angel Lucifer shows up and has a brief chat with Judas.
It was Wednesday and Judas sat at his kitchen table across from his son. His wife had taken Mary to Martha’s mom’s house to calm down so the apartment was empty apart from the two. The rest of the apostles were somewhere but Judas did not know, nor did he care, where they had fucked off to. He was tired of the arguments which had taken up the better parts of the last few days.
One thing that everyone agreed on was that it hadn’t been much of a fray. The entire dinner party had come to the grove unprepared for a battle. Jesus had considered sending everyone back to their homes to fetch their swords or god willing purchase one at the local armory which was nearby, and had said as much to them, (Luke 22:36) but in his heart he knew there simply wasn’t enough time. He had seen how organized the Romans appeared to be. Rather than sacrifice even more people to the foot soldiers, he opted instead to eat some food and asked everyone to sit with him and pray before the army got there. The apostles did so…uneasily.
Through it all, Judas, who never prayed, watched his friend. As his prayers went on, Jesus appeared terrified of whatever responses he was receiving during his commune with his father.
While Jesus was busy, Andrew had sidled up to Judas and demanded to know why he hadn’t been at the demonstration. Judas rolled his eyes and stated that everyone knew he wasn’t allowed anywhere near the damned temple and that he had been ensconced with his future in-laws trying to work out the rights of his heir. James joined Andrew in accusing Judas of selling out their boss to the Romans and demanded to know where Judas had gotten such a fat bag of silver. Judas explained that it was part of the dowry he just received and everyone screamed at everyone else until the Romans charged in.
After the chaos of the soldiers coming into the dark grove subsided, a man on a horse demanded that Jesus of Nazareth step forth and the rest of the people would be ignored. Judas instinctively drew two sharp blades and stood in a defensive stance in front of Jesus. Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, his friends, and his family, did as instructed. He smiled at Judas, touched his shoulder, and turning to the soldiers said, “I am he.” (John 18:4) And thus ended the worst Passover supper that any of them had ever attended.
Jesus was taken, everyone was upset, Mary was a wreck, and on Monday, Judas started on a bender which had gone until the early hours of Wednesday morning. (Which about brings us up to speed.) He was currently sitting at his table, nursing a hangover and being tended to by his son who brought him coffee, water, and herbs which the apothecary assured him would stop the pounding in his head.
A knock at the door caused both Judas and his son to rise, although Judas did not stay risen. He slumped back unceremoniously into his chair, put his head down and closed his eyes.
“Deep breaths, Pop. I can get the door,” Menahem said and went to see who was knocking. Without thinking about it, he palmed a thin dagger into the folds of his robes in case the visitor tried anything untoward.
He opened the door and looked out. A man with kind eyes and a gentle smile stared back at him. Menahem thought he looked a bit like a Roman, though he had slightly sharper features than what he saw on the soldiers around town. The man was definitely foreign, but Menahem couldn’t place his origin.
“Can I help you?” Menahem said while positioning his hand near to his knife.
The stranger glanced unhurriedly from Menahem to the inside of the room where Judas sat and snapped his fingers. “No need for the knife Menahem. Everything’s cool and I mean you no harm. I’m here to chat with your pops a little bit. Invite me inside and offer me your hospitality.”
Menahem felt a small wave of both confusion and calm wash over him. He did as he was told and invited the stranger in. Despite the pounding in his head, Judas arose to greet the new comer. Purely out of instinct, he also placed his hands near to the fold in his robes which contained a blade.
“I told you that you won’t need any knives. Honestly, Iscariot. If I wanted you dead, you’d already be dead. Do you mind if I smoke?” he asked looking at the two dazed men.
The man pulled a cigarette out of a small silver box and lit it.
“What are you doing?” Menahem asked slowly. “What’s that in your hand?”
“Oh this?” he said, holding his hand up. “This is a cigarette. They won’t be invented for a few centuries but I have a hookup. I’ll let you bum one if you want. First, however, I’m going to give you both back your free will, but only if you promise to stay calm and chat with me for a bit. Cool?”
“Free will?” Judas asked.
“Yeah. I’m never exactly sure how people will react when I show up and you’ve been under some stress for the last few days. I don’t usually indulge in such violations. That’s actually part of why I got kicked out in the first place but it’s useful every once in a while.” The man paused and shook his head. “Shit. I’m distracted again. Sorry. Back to the task at hand. I’m going to snap you back to your normal selves as long as you promise not to do anything stupid. Judas, I’m also going to fix your hangover. Deal?”
Judas paused as he tried to process what the man had said before finally muttering, “Sure.”
“Wonderful,” the man said and snapped his fingers. Both Judas and Menahem felt the confusion lift from their brains but stayed relatively still.
“What the,” Judas said as his full consciousness came storming back to him. “What the hell was that? What the hell did you do?”
The man sighed. “Dude, I just explained that.”
“But…” Judas started before being interrupted.
“Rest calm,” the man said. “Remember. I mean you no ill will. I just want to talk to you. So let’s all just be super cool about shit, K?”
A few seconds of silence passed as Judas and Menahem took stock of the situation. Finally Menahem spoke. “Who are you, exactly?” he asked.
“You know. It’s so weird,” the man replied. He sat down at the table and invited Judas and Menahem to do the same.
“God never really gave us names and we only started adopting them whenever we’d have to come down and deliver messages or whatever asinine errands he’d have us run. That was another argument we had. I’m like. If you’re omnipotent, then doing this crap is a waste of my time. You know?”
Judas and Menahem looked at each other and then back at the stranger.
“But that’s not important. If you want, you can call me Lucifer. I’ve always thought that had a nice ring to it. This guy I met once in Babylon had the name and I sort of just adopted it. I think part of why I like it is that in the future people started referring to me as such? Time and space are so weird, man. They’ll start playing tricks on you if you’re not careful.”
“Oh, I’m doing it again, aren’t I?” Lucifer replied. He put out his cigarette in a clay cup and lit another. He offered the box to both Judas and his son who declined.
“You’re missing out, but OK. Right. Menahem, fetch me a cup of wine because this is going to take a little while. Settle in, Judas Iscariot and riddle me this. Who’s the assassin that’s going to help save the whole, damned world?”