By Eze Jude. O

The last 20 years proved a fertile breeding era for Satanists and apologists of relativism. They had argued that for ages, we have heard only God's side of the story. No one has asked about Satan's account of what transpired in the war between Angels of God led by Michael and dragonish angels prefigured in Lucifer (Rev. 12:7-9), and the misadventure of the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-13). Therefore, by their reckoning, it is time to listen to the other side, in the spirit of 'fairness.'

For many centuries they run serious advocacy for their master. This time, they came up with unfounded injustice in scriptural prophecies and their fulfilments. They cite the circumstances of Esau, King Saul and Judas Iscariot. Their arguments are that these biblical personages had their respective fate sealed before their birth. And therefore it was unjust on the side of Christians (and their God) to allow them get punished and dissed for their 'misdeeds' which was predestined to happen before time began.

One of the advocates for Judas' canonization wrote: "If you have like me sustained a perpetual conflict with injustice, you ought to have noticed that Judas Iscariot has been unfairly treated. I had the opportunity- unintentionally- of reading the bible very well. The first figure who invoked sympathy was Saul. He did not ask to be made king. It was foisted on him by the clamor of his people and destiny. From the day he became king, things got worse for him. And to imagine that he had a beautiful life presiding over his father’s prosperous household. Misdemeanors which the Jewish God would’ve ordinarily forgiven (assuming it was another person) were magnified into unpardonable _wrongs. It continued until he was killed alongside his three sons in a divinely planned war. . The next guy in the troubling list of the mistreated is Esau. Long before he was born, the Jewish God had already said that he hated him. His birthright and blessing were conned off him . While he labored like a man, his home-keeping and lazy younger brother got everything. . To return, then, to Judas. Many bewildering centuries before he was born, a prophecy was already waiting for him; “Let his habitation be desolate and his office__ _let another take.” He was only born to act the script of destiny. And again, to think that the man he betrayed was primarily on earth to die—and that the salvation of Christians is hinged on that all-important death. While the death of Jesus is celebrated, a man who was part of its divinity is yearly being lampooned as greedy and vile and evil. If Judas indeed infatuatedly loved money, why did he return the money after receiving it? Why did he let himself get killed by remorse, instead of relaxing to enjoy the fruit of treachery as the truly treacherous would have done? It is simple and short: the son of Simeon Iscariot was just a victim of pitiless predestination. He deserves, like all sacrificial lambs for common and high causes, canonization, not this demonization."

The first shortcoming of their postulations, however, is the error of predestination. Predestination, in Christian theology, is an erroneous doctrine (taught by Calvinists) that all events have been willed by God, usually with reference to the eventual fate of the individual soul. It suggests that there are people God created to end up in hell fire, while others were created to make heaven. This idea contradicts the gift of free will which God gave all men to exercise as they choose.

The idea that some souls are created and predestined by God to be damned is an obvious error to a Christian. But that's what you get when people see the bible as fictional literature book.

Hence God never created anyone, including Judas, to be condemned to hell fire. We all make the choices of either damnation or salvation by our actions and inactions. And that is why forgiveness was raised to the order of sacrament. Fr. Emma Onuh would argue that "the road to hell is wide (Matt. 7:13-14) to encourage U-turn for any soul who, like the prodical son decides to have a rethink."

Of all the prophecies about the man who will betray Jesus, none mentioned Judas Iscariot as the would-be culprit. The same way the prophecy that "a virgin will conceive" (Is. 7:14) never mentioned that it must be Mary.

That Judas went ahead to fall prey was not the debacle; but that he refused to take the U-turn in repentance afterwards.

The convenient argument that "if he didn't sell Jesus, we would not have been saved" is nothing but placing restriction on God's omnipotence and omniscience. A way of saying God is incapable of hatching uncountable other ways to bring his plan for the salvation of the man to fruition.

Had Judas rejected the demonic impulse to sell his Master, the Executioners would have devised another means to accomplish their desires. God also have million other ways to accomplish his plans without injuring the age-old prophecies.

Be it known also that the same misdemeanor was predicted of Peter. He went ahead and denied Christ three times. He betrayed Christ with shouts and curses in the middle of a crowd. Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ in shadows and whispers, in a conspiracy. St. Peter thought he knew better than his Master, the truth about his own courage and his own weakness. Judas Iscariot, who betrayed his Master with a kiss, thought he knew better than Christ what the mission of the anointed of God should be. Both were delusional—St. Peter was delusional about himself; Judas Iscariot was delusional about Christ.

Peter the Apostle wept bitterly, and repented of his sin (Matt. 26:75). When his resurrected Master greeted him, surely he was amazed that he was neither killed nor excoriated but forgiven, restored, and entrusted with a great mission. The Risen Christ commissioned his repentant traitor with these words: “Feed my sheep” (Jn. 21:17).

Judas Iscariot, seeing upon his own hands the blood of an innocent man, his very Master, despaired, and died by his own hand (Matt. 27:5). By sin, we separate ourselves from Christ—yet while we live, we may still repent, and find the mercy that cost Christ so dearly. But by his despair, Judas Iscariot refused to let himself be found by the risen and merciful Christ. He committed suicide!

In the witts of Fr. Emma Onuh: "why Jesus choose a man like Judas to be his disciple was to show the world that no incentive can save a person who has decided to go to hell"

In the case of Esau, God said in Gen. 25:23 that the younger will be stronger than the older. And so the latter will serve the former. By saying He choose Jacob over Esau before they were born, God was declaring that establishment of Abrahamic dynasty would come from Jacob not Esau.

But none of the predictions would justify the untoward decision of Esau to mortgage his birthright for a meal in the drama of Gen. 25:29-34. And so, his ordeal would not be blamed on predestination but on his free will and choice which was influenced by his lack of the virtues of forbearance, and the ability to resist taking decisons from a point of helplessness. He allowed lust for food rob him off the honour and prestige of his status as the first (and eldest) son. Lack of the knowledge of self worth, is the reason many of us who are baptized in Christ still give in to the advances of the enemy of our salvation. And afterwards we blame it on God for not helping us; when in reality, his grace is sufficient with us. But we often fail to cooperate with it.

The case of King Saul was not even supposed to be called in this wise. The fact that he didn't choose to be king, but was chosen by God does not give him the right to abuse the office. Kingship was not foisted on him. He had the free choice of rejecting or accepting it. His acceptance of the office comes with both privileges and responsibilities. "God who made us without our cooperation cannot save us without our cooperation" said St. Augustine.

Saul could not control his lust for material wealth, which made him feed his greed with the fat rams of Amalek. He, in being "politically correct" disobeyed God's command and spared King Agag (1Sam. 15:9). Thus he sealed his own fate!

By committing adultery and murder respectively, David too had penciled his soul for ruin, like Saul, his predecessor. But he (David) wept in the six penitential prayers of Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 130, 143. And he was forgiven. Saul on the other hand was not remorseful. Instead of seeking God's forgiveness, he resorted to patronizing sorcerers and witches of Endor (1Sam. 28:33-45). And that threw open the pandora's box.

At the end of the day, the difference between Peter and Judas was repentance and resort to divine mercy. The same happenstance applied to Saul and David. The difference also between the thief on Christ's right hand side and the one on the left is the same (Lk. 23:39-43).

May daylight spare us!

..Eze Jude O. is a Laboratory Scientist and Public Affairs Analyst.

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