The Man from Kerioth

Arci del Sol

Dr. Ricardo de los Santos, in his many talks concerning mysteries and the supernatural one time spoke of the very first vampire. And this he said he based on an old Jewish legend which circulated in the very first century. Some of us were really surprised when he revealed that the very first vampire was not Count Dracula himself but someone more notorious and tragic when presented as he is. He disclosed that this is the enigmatic man from Kerioth; the ultimate traitor himself, Judas Iscariot. How this came to be is one the subplots of Dr. de los Santos’ second novel, he said.

His Beginnings

According to him, Judas Iscariot is only the non-Galilean among the apostles. His father, Simon was an urbane man who enjoyed his life as a libertine and opportunist. A man of loose tongue and character he could easily project himself as a Pharisee, or a Sadducee or even as a Zealot as the situation demands as he was a paid informer of the Romans he pretended to despise. A man of vices, he would frequent watering holes and makeshift brothels for his exploits. This is where once when he was drunk, he met a red-haired foreign woman whom he co-habited for some time until he abandoned her when she claimed she was pregnant. Then, one day, as she had been seeking him out, she presented him, the boy, Judas, and simply asked for ten silver coins so that she can go far back in the wilderness up north from where she came.

Drunk as he was, and with least resistance, he accepted the boy, as she prospected that he could sell him someday as a slave with more profit. But with his hung-over gone, he realized that he had a prodigy because he was clever from the very beginning. He thus, entrusted him to one of his more submissive concubines to raise as their own child. This woman, past her child-bearing age, even made up the story that he was a miraculous baby brought by an angel to them. Thus, Judas grew up into manhood possessing more talents that exceeded those of his father.

Simon because of his unhygienic exposure with different women contracted leprosy aside from his other venereal maladies. This is when he heard about Jesus’ healing ministry and talked to Judas about it. Simon asked his son to intercede for him as he felt, Jesus was a holy rabbi and therefore, may deny and even rebuke for his evils. Judas himself was at first uninterested for he himself was living a life of sin. However, he has learned that the woman from Magdala with whom he was enamored had become a follower of the Christ. From her, seven demons had been exorcised by Jesus and she was filled with gratitude and became one of His avid disciples. Simon himself was pleasantly surprised because he had courted the Magdalene himself but failed. And so, one day, he told his father that he was joining the disciples of Christ so that he could have the chance to intercede for his healing. The father thought he was sincere, and that there was something good about his son after all.

There would be gaps between parents and children but the predisposition either for good or evil will be the same.

His Volunteerism

Judas, smart as he was didn’t present himself right away. He simply observed around the holy activities of the Rabbi and His followers. And since Mary Magdalene knew him already it wasn’t difficult for him to strike conversations with the others as well projecting himself as someone eagerly willing to learn from the Master. The Mother of Jesus, Mary of Nazareth, herself from the House of David therefore consequently got acquainted with him. Pure at heart and not harboring malice from any man, she had some doubts about Judas but she believed that Jesus, being omniscient could easily discern any evil which would approach them. Eventually, when Judas volunteered to become one of His disciples, the Virgin Mother, like in the wedding at Cana, simply introduced him and let her Son decide about him. The Lord, all-knowing as He is, knew right away that the weave of his soul was horizontal but humbly accepted him as He knew that through him, His passion will be fulfilled. Thus, in deference for His loving Mother, He not only accepted him among the disciples but even made him the only one of the twelve which did not come from Galilee.

Judas was pleased with his new role and was more pleased that the Magdalene saw him in a new light; not as a man with intentions lewd but as a gentleman with intentions renewed. On the other hand, his father promptly followed up on his son’s promise but he said he was afraid He could see through him and would be given rebuke instead on that premise. In the meantime, the proud man from Kerioth saw something which made him envious and jealous. The mother of James and John presented his sons to the Master and asked that they be given prestigious positions when His Kingdom comes. He was too glad that they were simply rebuked but not in the manner that they will be humiliated. He told her that she doesn’t know what she was asking for secretly He was speaking for need for martyrdom for such greatness. But of course, if they didn’t understand how could the Iscariot? But this made Judas aspire for more. He now secretly desired to be in a better position than them who are in His closest circle. To do this, he had to show off some more in order to become Jesus’ Prime Minister when he becomes King. Then seeing that there are many gifts and money coming in as presents to His movement even if He didn’t ask for them, He asked Our Lady to task him instead so that She will no longer be burdened apportioning things for the poor. Thus, the clever Iscariot was able to become treasurer with the support of those who voiced out their support of unburdening the Virgin Mary. Furthermore, he had now the chance of keeping some for himself when others aren’t looking.

Slowly, but surely, he was making progress towards the desires of his heart. There were telltale signs of course, for he was a glutton who would even eat the left-overs till his guts ached before he would give them to the poor. He and his father will pretend to visit those in the Herodian prisons just so they can intoxicate themselves. And this he would do when there is so much to do because he doesn’t like menial tasks. His pride and sloth made him avoid laborious tasks. Soon, he told himself, his political dream will come true and as it is prestigious enough why would the Magdalene still deny him?

An evil predisposition would likely precede evil acts.

His Dualism

Hence, in the pretext of charitable works such as visiting prisoners imprisoned by Herod, the Iscariots would visit their havens of vices and rejoin Jesus’ group as having been exhausted in their charitable works. But actually, they will also meet with those who were plotting to do Jesus harm. Caiaphas and Annas were their longtime acquaintances asking them for information about the things the unconventional Rabbi had been doing. Sometimes, it is with Samuel Belibeth who in his dream of becoming a Roman was rabid to get information about Jesus which would please Pilate into making him a puppy worthy to drink from the teats of the She-wolf which fed Romulus and Remus. And then, also with the Zealots led by Barrabas, “the son of his father”, the antithesis of Jesus robbing the foreign merchants of Jerusalem. These band of thieves, some of them real thieves and some pretending just to be thieves, so that if the Romans catch them; the rebellion will not be exposed. The Zealots were just waiting for the Messiah to draw his sword so that they can join Him immediately. But Simon, who has become one of the twelve had bad news for them. Jesus would not do it for his gospel was a gospel of peace. At first, the Iscariots tried to downplay anything that would make the Pharisees anxious about the Nazarene because they were starting to like Jesus’ plans for His kingdom for they can only see goodness and sincerity in Him. He could really be the Messiah and good enough for their own plans.

But in one of the instances, when the Iscariots met the Pharisees led by Joseph Caiaphas again and they were talking good about Him, the chief priest retorted with the fact that if he was indeed that good, why isn’t Simon Iscariot still afflicted with leprosy and they were flabbergasted. When they returned to the brotherhood, Simon blurted out the problem to the Bonaerges. They were named such because there was a time when they have expressed to the Master if He wanted them to have the skies rain fire unto the town which would not accept Him. Having seen such aggressiveness, the Lord, in His sense of humor, called them thus, the “sons of thunder”. Naturally, the Bonaerges quickly responded with fire and rebuked him. Why, they asked, are you waiting for the Lord, to that miracle for you when in fact, your son is already one of the twelve commissioned? This happened sometime before the Magdalene poured expensive perfume upon the Lord’s feet and dried it with her own luscious hair. Jealous and envious, the Iscariots almost simultaneously expressed what a waste it was to use perfume only for His feet and that it should have been sold and the money given to the poor instead. But the Lord’s rebuke was subtle and even presaged His coming death. Even if malice had grown greater in their hearts, the apostles’ observation was finally considered. It was such that once they were alone in a desolate place, the two fell on their knees and begged the Father in heaven to grant Simon’s cure. For the first time, even as he was testing his being commissioned, he asked God as an apostle for the singular grace of healing his father from leprosy. And thus, Simon the leper became well and Judas finally realized that he was indeed one of the chosen.

From that day onwards, Judas took his apostleship to heart and performed miracles for the good of the people in the name of God. Yet his heart was brewing with pride and the prospects of being one of those chosen to serve as a minister in the kingdom of Jesus. Now, really, he thought, the love of his life, Mary of Magdala would finally notice him as a good husband material. But Simon Iscariot was also enflamed with his desire for the same woman and even while knowing that the apostle was desirous of her, and because he had the good looks again, he made his own moves for as he believed, he was more entitled because he found her first. This developed into a real quarrel between father and son and Judas had to decide to send him away. These the disciples only understood as his being protective to a spiritual sister. Simon who developed a great grudge told on Judas’ dualism to the Pharisees and served as a detractor of his own son such that the parties that once trusted him now see his double cross.

Adamant evil can grow even worst with bad blood.

His Betrayal

But the worst had to come. The Rabbi had been showing strange unprecedented behavior. He would speak of suffering and even of death, and worst, that His kingdom is not of this world. And even through it all, the Magdalene believed Him. How can he compete with Him in getting her attention for he had made His brother, Lazarus resurrected from the dead. And now that his cover is blown by his own father, where would he go from there? And his fears seemed to have reached its pinnacle when Jesus made His entry into Jerusalem riding on an ass! The people had believed in Him, covering His way with mantles and clothing to show their utmost veneration as believers and waving their olive branches and palm fronds and chanting hosannahs to God in the highest. Why, this would have been the perfect timing, for why did He not let Him arrange all things. He could have easily borrowed horses for Him and even the twelve. They could have girded some swords on their waists and show the coming of the Messiah who is to establish a new kingdom, something greater than the one built by Solomon!

Then, this talk of suffering and death again. It was too frightening for one who had invested so much time and effort for such a Master Who only wanted to die after showing so much promise and greatness. And so, greatly frustrated, he made arrangements with the High Priest again and removed the doubts that his father has made. He would surely deliver Him to them when the right time comes. And it did during the last supper. The Master Himself has given him the cue to do it promptly. The Iscariot was the only one who did not say grace after meals, for he had to hurry. Upon his return, this time in the garden of Gethsemani, he kissed his Master for the last time to signal his arrest and the start of His Passion.

A sign of peace could be a signal of evil; a betrayal.

His Remorse and Death

When Judas Iscariot realized how wrong he was to show such ingratitude to the Master by showing Him tyrannical betrayal instead of gracious and humble love, he felt remorse. He went back to Caiaphas demanding that he take back the thirty pieces of silver but goaded by Annas and the other Pharisees, Caiaphas refused saying that it wouldn’t be of any use as sacrifice in the temple for it was blood money; money used to pay for the life of Jesus. In the upsurge of his remorse, Judas threw the thirty pieces of silver down the floor cursing the priests and left. Soon afterwards, the priests took the thirty pieces of silver for it was such a waste just to throw them away. But Caiaphas had a crafty decision, they would use it instead not for the temple but to buy a piece of land for the poor to bury their dead. This is the Akeldama.

Meantime, Judas still raging and furious with what has become of him procured a rope and went to the slope overlooking Hinnom Valley, found one of the gnarled olive trees and tied it the rope unto a branch to hang himself. This valley became the dumping ground of Jerusalem because of its history conjugated with child sacrifices over hearths. This was how it acquired the name of Gehenna, in Greek, which denoted its seemingly endless burning to get rid of the rubbish. However, the rope did not hold and he fell into the protruding rocks below and was disemboweled by them. This is the reason why there are two versions on how he died. Besides, when the earthquake struck and darkness covered the land, with the dead rising, the earth gave way for the body of the traitor to be swallowed into Hades. But even death would not give rest for such an evil deed of betrayal.

His Immortality

In Hades, Satan engaged him shortly and told him he deserved something worst than hell. And so, he sent him back unto the earth’s crust where he would not die but just suffer. Satan was enraged with his kind of evil, for as a spirit, he was not given the dauntless task of starting the Passion of the Son of God which he would have savored to do. In his steep pride, Satan felt he lost to Judas who was just a man. And so, he cursed him with an immortality that would be worsened not only by separation with God but to languish on earth forever thirsting for living blood.

And thus, Judas Iscariot became the very first vampire who thirst for the blood of the living as a punishment for Jesus’ bloodbath. In this curse Judas may not cross any living water which symbolizes the Friend he betrayed and would have aversion to silver especially if it shaped into a cross because he sold the Son of God for thirty pieces of silver, ten more than the price of Patriarch Joseph when his brothers sold him. And he would bite by the neck envious of those who die easily when they hung themselves and those who are bitten by him and become vampires because of his contagion would have to die with stakes running through their hearts for he would have died with the longing for the woman who owned his heart.

And from the darkness he came and with the darkness he will thrive. The sun’s rays would burn him but would still be unconsumed by the blaze of the sun. For Jesus had resurrected for all men to follow but the fruits of the Iscariot’s contagion would have to burn and deserve hell forever. But unless one is a traitor, a usurper or a lewd ingrate, then one does not have to fear the vampire’s bite!

And so, remember this for all time:

Not all volunteers are motivated by goodness for some are only fueled by selfish motives.


FRMG Marciano “Arci” del Sol
Magdiwang Guardians Clan

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The Sanhedrin was the forum for the pharisees, who believed in the resurrection and in angels, and the saducees, who are akin to new theories and philosophies. All beliefs and philosophies concerning God and His creation are allowed to be expressed here.
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