Lucifer stood in the small cell with his back to the door. His eyes closed, he breathed in deeply. He wanted to savor every moment of what was about to happen. He had waited, as they saw it in the Above world, for centuries. Time didn’t work quite the same way here, but still, he had waited. In his arrogance, he had always believed he would have his revenge in the end - and here it was. His moment. Elohim had finally taken the misstep he’d been waiting for. El may have thought He’d won - but Lucifer knew this was HIS moment, and he was not going to rush it. His time had finally come.
“Excellency?” he heard behind him. “The prisoner has arrived.”
Lucifer turned and watched as two of his underlings showed a shackled man into the cell. His hair was matted with blood. His hands, bound by chains harsher than any ever constructed on earth, were black with the blood that had streamed from the gaping holes in his hands only moments before on Golgotha. His ankles were held in similar irons, and his feet were covered in a foul mixture of blood and dirt. He stood, unmoving, in the middle of the cell, wearily staring at the floor.
Lucifer nodded curtly to his minions and sharply ordered “Leave us.” The demons, disappointed they would not get to watch the confrontation they’d all been waiting for, sulkily slinked out of the cell, slamming the door behind them. The hard sound reverberated throughout chasms of their underworld as all of Lucifer’s army held their breath for what would happen next.
Lucifer regarded his prisoner with unmasked contempt and hatred. For an eternal moment, the pair stood opposite each other in the small cell, one taking in the glory of the moment, and the other standing still as stone, completely silent and seemingly defeated. Slowly Lucifer began circling the prisoner, surveying with pleasure the bruises and gouges throughout his body. The prisoner continued to stand still and allow himself to be on display to his greatest enemy with no response.
Finally Lucifer spoke.
“So,” he sneered, “Here we are. It’s come to this.” He continued circling around his captive, his ultimate prisoner of war. “I have to say, they did a fine job with your torture. It’s even more than I had hoped for.” As he walked, the keys to his loathsome kingdom clanged from their permanent place tied to his waist. The prisoner, unperceived by Lucifer, moved his eyes ever so slightly at the sound, eyeing the keys with interest. Then, just as imperceptibly, he slid his eyes back to the floor as Lucifer came back around to stand in front of him.
Lucifer took no notice.
“You could have avoided all this, you know,” he said in a mocking tone. “I gave you that opportunity. You could have even gone on to tell them all about love and peace. All kinds of things that they would have liked hearing and that would have had no impact on me whatsoever - and you could have died warm in your bed as an old man, a celebrated teacher and well-loved Rabbi. I gave you an out. Sure, it would have meant giving up on them, but they’re not worth it anyway, a lost cause. Looking pretty good now, eh?” The prisoner continued to stare at the ground without comment.
A foul stench began to rise in the cell. This wasn’t like the smells of the Above world. This smell went deeper, penetrating the soul. Lucifer inhaled deeply. “Ah, smell that? Those pitiful creatures have no idea what scent really is. They have no idea what senses really are. They think what they experience is slight, smell, and touch. Pales in comparison to the real thing, doesn’t it?” The prisoner began to cough and choke on the stench, but still made no comment. “Know what that is?” Lucifer asked with a wicked grin. “That’s the stench of every sin committed in the history of man, past, present, and future. It’s the stench you get to live with now for all eternity since you’ve gone and sacrificed yourself for these creatures that don’t care anyway. Hope you’re proud of yourself. I have you, you’ll live here with this, and they don’t care. Well done, really, well done.” Lucifer began to slowly clap in mocking applause. “I don’t know what you think you’ve accomplished, but well done, sir.” He let out a raucous, wicked laugh at his own cleverness.
The prisoner continued to stand silently, no sound coming from him except the constant choking on the ever growing stench of sin. Lucifer realized he wasn’t getting angry or bitter at all. He wanted more of a rise out of this pitiful figure, and yet his captive just stood there, not responding at all to his clever taunts. In a rage he struck the prisoner with the back of his hand with all his force. The impact sent the shackled sprawling to the ground, face in the stone floor.
Lucifer leaned down and grabbed his prisoner by his blood soaked hair and whispered fiercely into his ear. “You may think you’ve won, but all you’ve done is hand over your precious ‘flock’ to me. You and I know that your sacrifice has covered their wretched sin, but they don’t know that, and I will work from now till eternity to make sure they never do. You are mine now, and what’s to stop me? You and Elohim think you’re so clever, but you’ve made a grave mistake. The humans will never accept your sacrifice, not while I have breath in my body. You have given me dominion forever. You have lost your own life, and you have not saved a single one of theirs. Without you there with them, they will never understand, and they will refuse the sacrifice until it’s too late. So with that knowledge, get used to your new surroundings. These walls are all you will see for all eternity.” Satisfied, he threw the torn head of his enemy to the ground and turned to leave, the keys to his evil kingdom clanging against each other and he strode across the cell and slammed the door shut behind him.
Yeshua lay there on the ground, weighed down not only with physical pain, but with a spiritual burden He’d never experienced before. The absolute loneliness of His cell continued to fill with the stench of the sin of mankind. The putridness of it made him retch and be sick over and over, but that wasn’t even the worst of it.
All His life, any time He was afraid or tired or tempted, He had almost effortlessly turned to the Father for guidance and strength. Now, in the darkest hour of His life, He instinctively turned His heart to His Father - but for the first time, His Father was not there. Instead there was a vast, infinite void of absolute nothingness. This sense of complete abandonment was far worse than the oppressiveness of sin weighing Him down. It was the most pain He had ever experienced and would ever experience. He began heaving huge, ugly sobs.
As the void descended on His heart in a heavy darkness, the memories began. These were not originally His memories, but with His sacrifice came the darkest memories of every wrong ever committed by man, past, present and future. Every lie, every theft, every act of malice, every murder, every rape, every act of defiance against the Father, big and small - all these crowded into the cell and overwhelmed the broken figure crumpled on the ground, the stench of humanity’s choices growing ever stronger in the cell.
His mind became saturated with memories of acts now, it appeared, performed by Him. He saw His hands reach out and stab a man by the name of Abel, saw the first blood spilled in rage. He saw the fear in countless women’s eyes and His hands abused them in endless, unspeakable ways. He say children slaughtered before Him and the guilt of their deaths was overwhelming. He saw His hands take things that weren’t His, leaving others destitute. He saw His hands lighting buildings on fire and watched the utter destruction it caused. He Himself leading armies to destroy other nations - and he also saw Himself as the soldiers themselves, carrying out the orders of death, rape, and pillaging. He saw, through His own eyes, terror and loathing and evil, and because He had sacrificed Himself to pay for all of it, He experienced it all Himself.
He saw His hand usher hundreds of starving men, women, and children into a large stone room, lock the doors, and then deposit a canister of poison into the room. He listened to the screams of His own people, His own family, as they cried out in death. He saw His hands tie people to chairs to dunk them underwater because they belonged to His own family. He had memories of someplace that would one day be known as a corporate office, signing papers to steal millions of dollars from people who needed it most. He saw Himself throw widows and orphans into the street because He had made the decision to charge more than they could pay. He saw Himself using technology He had never seen before - things that would eventually be known as film and phones and cameras - to record men and women doing despicable things to each other...and to children. He saw His hands accept money and then shove young women towards men who would rape them and use their bodies to death - and He saw Himself in the roles of the rapists themselves. His soul was overcome with thoughts and emotions He had always been able to fight off during His 33 years on earth - greed, anger, lust, malice, shame, sloth, and always, always fear. He had never before experienced this kind of fear. It was crushing to His heart and soul, and there was no escape from it. Again and again, He tried to turning to the Father for help and strength. Yet again and again, there was nothing but the void. His Father was not there.
As the world above turned three times, He continued to experience the sin of all history. For three days of eternity He did not move from the floor of His cell, unable to do anything but writhe and sob and choke on the stench of sin that clogged His nostrils and soul. There He stayed, unable to reach His Father for help, as the punishment of every sin from Eve & Adam on was heaped upon Him. Lucifer kept close tabs on the suffering, watching through a window in the door of the cell. He reveled in the obvious agony of his deepest enemy, laughing at every cry and squirm. Lucifer also made plans to eliminate the last of the threat still on earth. After all, only a few even knew of Yeshua’s pathetic attempt to sacrifice Himself on their behalf, and even they didn’t understand what had happened. It would be an easy matter, now that his enemy was out of the way, to take out those few puny men and women that might spread the message, and then all of mankind would be his to control forever. Elohim had handed him the power over these creatures He claimed to love. This was Lucifer’s finest hour - his final revenge for the humiliation and defeat he’d suffered all those years ago. He had won.
As the sun came up over the land above known as Jerusalem, Lucifer was in his own chamber planning to begin his campaign to take out the last of his earthly enemies. Suddenly a minion burst through the door shouting “Your excellency!” Furious at the demon’s impertinence, Lucifer turned to reprimand him and throw him out, when the sniveling creature shouted “You have to come! They’re here, we’ve been invaded!”
Startled, Lucifer pushed the underling out of the the way to see for himself. Striding toward the gates of his domain, he froze, horrified a what - or rather who - he saw.
Two enormous, powerful beings were walking through the passages of hell. Both held swords, but one was clearly leading the way. Demons tried to stop them at all points along the path, but the warrior in the lead deflected their advances as one might flick away a fly on earth. No amount of screams, protests or attacks slowed them in the slightest. They were here for a purpose, and nothing would sway them from their mission.
Lucifer recognised them immediately and cursed loudly and fouly. Then realization dawned on him. Never in the history of their creation had his former brothers come to this place, and there was only one reason they would do so now. In a panic, he rushed to his prized prisoner’s cell, and got there just before the two heavenly beings.
“Hello brothers,” Lucifer sneered. “What a pleasure to have you here. I don’t know what you think you’re doing, but it’s too late. I’ve won. He’s mine now.”
Michael looked his former brother right in the eye with righteous fury. He would have liked nothing better than to run his sword through this traitor who kept his Lord locked up with such arrogance. But he had a mission, and he could only carry out what Elohim had sent him to do. To do anything else would condemn him to the same fate as his former companion here. So without a word, he pushed Lucifer to the side, and with a swipe of his sword he broke the lock to the cell door. He held it open for Gabriel to go in, and then stood guard at the door. Demons screamed and raged all around, and some continued to try to attack, but the Power that Michael had behind his mission was too great. Lucifer himself found he could not move from his spot, and he was once again humiliated to remember that everything he did was only with Elohim’s permission. No matter how far he had fallen, he was still under the power of his creator, and at that moment, he could literally do nothing.
Gabriel stopped short as he went into the cell. The room was dense with the smell and the memories of sin - all sin. In this place, which was just as spiritual as Gabriel’s heavenly home - if in an opposite way - the air was dense with every last act of the rebellion of mankind. And it all rested and centered on the crumpled, bloodied figure on the floor. Gabriel gasped with horror when he realized this was what had become of his Lord. it took all the discipline of obedience he had not to turn around and slice his sword through every demon in the wretched place. But that was not what he had been sent to do. So, focusing on his mission, he instead knelt on one knee next to the pitiful, broken pile of a man. “My Lord,” he said “I bring a message from your Father.”
At those words the prisoner moved for the first time in three days. He slowly turned His battered head towards the angel, at first with uncomprehending eyes, and then as realization set in, a spark lighted His face.
Gabriel held out a hand to his Lord and said “Your Father says - it is finished. And it is time.”
As Yeshua reached out to take Gabriel’s hand, a Power swept over Him, stronger than He had ever felt during His days on the earth. As Gabriel helped Him to His feet, the chains that bound His wrists and ankles broke open and fell harmlessly to the ground. Yeshua stood to His full height, closed His eyes, and breathed deeply. With this breath, strength seemed to return to His body, and He strode towards the door. As He passed through, He gave a nod of acknowledgement to Michael, who bowed his head in reverence. Yeshua stook a moment to stop and lay his hands on the heads of His two faithful servants, and then He turned to lead them out of the gates of hell.
They strode past Lucifer without even looking at him. Lucifer screamed in horror and started after them. “No!” he screamed, “No! I won! He’s mine!”
At that, Yeshua stopped and turned. He looked Lucifer straight in his eyes, seeing there all the hatred and rebellion that had removed him from the heavenly realm ages ago. Then for the first time since his arrival, Yeshua spoke.
“I am from the Father, and now I leave and return to Him. I Am the I Am.”
The Power of the Word of the Lord knocked Lucifer to the ground in much the same way that he, Lucifer, had knocked his shackled prisoner to the ground three days earlier. As he hit the ground, his belt came loose, and the keys he always wore flew from him and landed at Yeshua’s feet. Yeshua calmly leaned down to retrieve them, looked at them for a moment, and then turned to leave, with Michael and Gabriel close behind. The demons continued to rage all around, but now Michael didn’t even have to use his sword. Their enemies were unable to come near. All they could do was scream.
The three boldly walked through the gates of hell. Once on the other side, Yeshua lifted the keys, selected the correct one, and firmly locked the gates behind Him. Lucifer, still recovering from his encounter with the Word, heard the key turn in the lock, and he knew with a sinking feeling what that meant. He’d lost. He’s lost everything. Again. Elohim had, in the end, won. He was defeated. The battle for humanity would still rage, and he’d win some skirmishes, bring home a few souls - but in the end, he’d lost. His screams of agony rang out over the screams of all his minions and followed the heavenly trio as they ascended out of hell.
24 But very early on Sunday morning[a] the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 3 So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.
5 The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man[b]must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”