Dialogue between Jesus and the devil
Discourse of our Lord Jesus Christ concerning the dispute with the devil
In Greek manuscripts, the text is known as "Discourse of our Lord Jesus Christ concerning the dispute with the devil" and "Account of the devil's dispute with our Lord Jesus Christ". This apocryphal text has received relatively little attention among scholars due to the general lack of translation into modern languages and the absence of critical publication in all extant Greek and Slavonic manuscripts. The work is one of a sizeable class of ancient books consisting essentially of questions addressed to Jesus and his answers.
The devil said, "Because such are my works, then I am greater than thou, and I was greater than thy angels. Thou art the king in the heavens, I am the king upon earth. Thou art Christ, and I am Antichrist."
The Lord said, "Thou art the phantasm of the world."
The devil said, "And thou art the phantasm which was bom of the woman."
Jesus said, "It is true that I was bom of a woman, that I might save the man whom I created; and on this account, I shall not abandon him before he appear at the third heaven, before the face of my Father, and shall enjoy the good things in the heavens."
And the devil said, "Thou thyself didst form Adam, and didst plant paradise, and didst place him in it; but I made him not to enter into paradise for one day."
And the Lord said, "Thou didst deceive Adam, and didst drive him out of paradise; but I will not suffer him to be a mockery by thee."
And the devil said, "If man shall sin, and give up thy glory, and shall do my will, what part hath he with thee?"
And the Lord said, "A man shall sin, and do thy works, and perform thy will and shall give up my glory, and shall live ninety years and come to repentance, receive strangers, guide the blind, shall company with the dead in prayers and fastings, and in his prayer shall say, 'O God, have mercy on me a sinner,' his good death cometh, and obtaineth the pardon of his wickedness. He shall be given to the archangel Michael, leader of those above, and shall become a suppliant to me; and I shall enlighten him, and lead him to paradise."
And again Jesus said, ''If a man shall live and do thy will, and reject my glory, and if he shall not repent of the evil which he shall do, especially should he live fifty or sixty years, and until eighty years shall not come to repentance, and when a sinner his death cometh, I will deliver him to the angel Emelouch, and he will lead him away to the outer darkness with the archdemons, and he shall be punished. According to his stumblings, I will reckon; I will examine him for my perfecting, and will not destroy him, because he is my creation. And the angel will lead him away to the lake of fire, where also thou art about to proceed with thy demons, O wicked devil."
Then the devil, being angry, withdrew from him, and called his eight myriads of grinning demons, saying unto them, "My children, be strong and slay the man; for the great Christ hath descended upon the earth, and if we shall kill him, the kingdom is ours forever. But we ourselves must go before, and I will come behind, and we will smite him like one of mankind. From the time when he formed Adam, I was not willing to worship him, and from that time he and his Father hated me."
And when he had said these things, the crowd of demons put itself in motion, and the cloud of dust raised by them extended twenty stadia.
But the Lord's disciples, seeing the mountains trembling, the fountains spouting forth, and the fishes leaping out, were exceedingly terrified, and said, "Lord, seeing these things, we shall die."
The Lord said to them, "Fear not the devil; I will smite him together with his demons."
While they were saying these things, the crowd of demons drew near, about thirteen stadia off.
But Philip and Thomas said, "The God of all Himself cast the devil from heaven."
While they were saying these things, the crowd of demons approached until they were three stadia distant.
And Peter, receiving cowardice from the devil, wished to make Jesus manifest.
And the Lord said, "Be not afraid until thou seest the glory of God."
He turned and stood at the feet of Jesus. Then our Lord Jesus Christ prayed, and changed to his divine glory.
And he commanded a cloud of heaven to suspend the devil at his feet; and he smoked him with smoke.
And here the demons cried out, saying, "And whither shall we flee? But come, let us betake ourselves into the abyss, where we may be saved."
And the devil, being suspended, cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Lord, lead me down from this distress, and destroy me not prematurely."
And the Lord said, "If I lead thee down, wilt thou cease to make war against the race of men?"
And the devil said, "My Lord, I can bring it to pass that as many as believed upon my polluted and unclean kind shall believe upon thy name."
And the Lord commanded him to be brought down upon the earth; and the devil, having fallen as lightning, stationed himself before the feet of Jesus.
Then Jesus changed into his human condition, even as on our account he was bom.
And the devil, seeing that Jesus was become a man, snorted contemptuously in his mouth, and violently stood up against him for the purpose of laying hold on Jesus.
And the Lord said to him, "Again, devil, hast thou the power to attack me? O Satan, wilt thou again enter into controversy? I will not spit upon thee, nor will I breathe upon thee. For my spittle is healing and strength, and as to my breathing, the very Holy Spirit proceedeth from my mouth. Yea, my powers are great, but if I do not make war upon thee, I will not be king forever."
And the devil said, "I will go to the high priests Annas and Caiaphas, to the chief priests, to my Judeans; and I will prepare them to crucify thee. I am not like the Most High, but thou art His Son. But I am like myself; I am Antichrist. Thou art the heavenly king, and I the earthly, since, indeed, thou castest me away. And also I caused John, who baptized thee, to be put to death by Herod, and his head to be triumphed over by a dancing woman."
And the Lord said, "John did not die, but liveth. But hear, wicked devil. Art thou able to gather wine from thorns, or harvest fruit from thistles?"
And the devil was silent, making no answer.
And Jesus said to him, "Art thou satisfied, devil? O Satan, wilt thou again make disputation?"
And he answered, "My Lord, I have naught to say."
And the Lord prayed a third time, and was changed into his divine glory.
And he commanded the devil to be removed from him thirteen stadia.
And he sealed the earth; and the earth was rent a hundred cubits, and was cloven asunder to the subterranean regions of the abyss.
And the devil sent forth a loud voice, saying, "Lord, where am I going."
The Lord said, "Descend, and thou shalt know."
The devil said, "My Lord, how great is the depth?"
Jesus said, "Should ninety-eight men roll down it a stone commensurate with their strength, the stone descending for fifty years would become like a grain of mustard before it came near the place where thou art going."
And the devil said, "Lord, and from then what?"
The Lord said, "There thou shalt remain until the end of time, being beaten by twenty-four angels, night and day. But at the end of that age, thou shalt go out upon the earth, and come to a country called Gouze, a country of the Egyptians, to the city of Daphne, offered for sale as a little fish. A virgin maid will conceive thee, by name Eudocia; because thou oughtest to be born from injustice. Being born of her three months, thou shalt establish thy throne upon the earth, and shalt reign three years; and many shall believe upon thee."
And the devil said, "Until then, have I power to reign?"
Jesus said, "O Satan, rejoice not because thou hast power to reign! But I can shift the years as a book, and I can make the three years three months or three weeks, the weeks days, the days hours, the hours moments."
The devil said, "Lord, and from then what?"
And Jesus said, "In its own season there shall be com and much wine, and for two seasons there shall not be found in the four extremities of the earth either wine or oil, except the widow's measure of com and half a pound of oil. I myself will come with ten thousand times ten thousand angels, and with Enoch and Elijah and John, and with my mother the virgin, and with the holy John who baptized me, whom thou didst say, "I made as the sport of a feast to be beheaded, and his head to be presented on a waiter before Herod." I send him for thy upbraiding and destruction. These will refute thee of thy name appearing any longer either in heaven or on earth, and they purpose to kill thee, base dog, devil. Because glory is becoming to our holy God."