This examination of Judas Iscariot is the outgrowth of a recent group Bible study on Hebrews. During the evening’s interactions on Hebrews my friend, in reference to eternal security, adamantly contrasted Judas-Iscariot, declaring, Judas Iscariot went to hell. I have several problems with a statement like that and spoke to the man privately about them after the study was over. Several days later that brother in Christ sent me a text message which directed me to a website he declared offered sound information on the subject of Judas Iscariot. What that website did, was to affirm my friend’s arguments.
I obtained the arguments against Judas from this source https://www.gotquestions.org/Judas-Iscariot.html.
Assuming, and it’s a natural assumption, that my friend and several thousand others like him, feel so resolute and judgmental about Judas-Iscariot, I decided to pursue this character study on the man.
I have made comments which can be seen below the bulleted points. The original document has, for the most part, been turned into bulleted points and highlighted in bold type.
The overarching question is, Who was Judas Iscariot?
As I began to respond to the thesis, which seems to have one goal – to have your opinion harmonize with theirs, my answers progressively turned into a ten-page treatise. I have learned that I cannot inundate you, the reader, with something that lengthy, as you will leave my site and probably never come back. Therefore, it is separated into parts. This is part two.
- Jesus knew from the very beginning what Judas Iscariot would do. Jesus told His disciples, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (John 6:70).
Look how the Message conveys John 6:70, “Jesus responded, “Haven’t I handpicked you, the Twelve? Still, one of you is a devil!“
Handpicked, now there’s a visual image for you. Jesus, fully aware of the end of this chain of events, choose Judas-Iscariot intentionally. Why is that? Could it be that Jesus was the one with the plan and not Judas-Iscariot?
The plan, since the rebellion and fall of the angels that followed Satan, has been to restore peace, and redeem humanity – a necessary move since one man gave it all away. But then, God knew that would happen, just as He knew Judas would be manipulated into playing the role he did. All of it for the purpose of gaining eternal salvation for all who would follow after Jesus Christ.
What of this idea that one of you is the devil?
Luke 22:1-6 NET. Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. (2) The chief priests and the experts in the law were trying to find some way to execute Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. (3) Then Satan entered Judas, the one called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve. (4) He went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers of the temple guard how he might betray Jesus, handing him over to them. (5) They were delighted and arranged to give him money. (6) So Judas agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus when no crowd was present.
If I look up the word devil I get diábolos; to accuse. A false accuser, used for the devil. It is simply one who accuses. Judas did not accuse Jesus; he did, however, try to push Him to act irrationally and prematurely. How could Jesus have acted prematurely? By taking the throne without going to the cross and redeeming us all.
It seemed that the dramatic change in Judas-Iscariot came when Satan entered him. My perception is always tainted by my humanity and so I see things rather black and white. As Judas Iscariot walked with Jesus, he acted and spoke just as he always did; James and John, the “sons of thunder,” were both capable of demonstrating a violent edge; Peter, much like James and John, was accustomed to the harsh, mouthy world associated with the fishing industry. These guys were just men and God saw the potential in them all.
Would God, knowing that He had Satan within His inner circle of leadership, be someone we should think highly of? Of course not. Common sense tells you that you never, knowingly, let the enemy close enough to disrupt your plans; and that is precisely what Satan was trying to do.
The Tree of Life Version of the Bible uses the term deliver instead of betray. The definition of deliver is to hand over or convey into someone’s possession formally. Since the word betray means:
v. To give aid or information to an enemy of; commit treason against or betray one’s country.
v. To deliver into the hands of an enemy in violation of a trust or allegiance:
v. To be false or disloyal to:
Can I then say that the act of delivering Jesus over, not to the Romans, but the Jewish council, was a betrayal? Since Judas never truly fit any of these definitions, especially when Jesus knew all along what Judas would eventually yield to; it does not feel like much of a betrayal, but a man with a mission, who was trying to provoke Jesus into a fight – one which he thought Jesus would quickly win.
You must remember that God’s agreements with us were never dependent upon our actions. Yes, there has always been a benefit for following after the covenants, but regardless of our efforts, or lack thereof, God was always going to remain faithful to His end of the deal. Such was the case with God’s end plan for the salvation of man. We know that Jesus went to the cross willingly, and would have been put there on that cross by some other means if necessary. Judas merely played a role.
And at the Last Supper, Jesus predicted His betrayal and identified the betrayer: “Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon” (John 13:26).
Again, the annoyance is that this is stated as though Judas was some random, last-minute alteration in the course of events. When it came to the Jews, Jesus told those who wanted to hang him, do you not realize that I could call legions of angels to come and rescue me. There is nothing that is happening to me that I have not approved and allowed. So to place words like betrayal and betrayer upon Judas is merely inciting anger and rage in the reader.
Jesus said that Judas Iscariot was not “clean”; i.e., he had not been born again and was not forgiven of his sins (John 13:10–11).
Jesus did not say, “Judas was not clean,” He merely said one of you.
What does John 13:10-11 say? (MKJV) Jesus said to him (Peter,) He who is bathed has no need except to wash his feet but is clean every whit. And you are clean, but not all. (11) For He knew who would betray Him. Therefore He said, You are not all clean.
The bulleted statement above, unwisely states, “he (Judas,) had not been born again and was not forgiven of his sins.” None of them were born again. Since Jesus had not gone to the cross, they were all living under the law, not grace.
Bathed and washed are translations; however, the Greek word is louō and means to bathe the whole person. We probably perceive this as water baptism. The idea behind the word is an immersion into a wholehearted acceptance, something that none of the disciples did. In contrast to Judas, who clearly was not 100% invested, we have Peter, who betrayed Christ three times; and John, who stayed near the cross and Mary, as Jesus was dying. The problem with thinking that any of them “got it,” is that none of them did, and scripture proves that out.
Has no need – G2192 echō A primary verb (including an alternate form σχέω scheō skheh’-o used in certain tenses only); to hold (used in very various applications, literally or figuratively, direct or remote; such as possession, ability, contiguity, relation or condition.) –
So I understand there not being a need to hold desperately onto sick relationships or possessions if I have been washed already, but to merely wash your feet as needed what did this mean? It meant that Jesus, through His word, had already cleansed them; but then, there is the daily, trivial nonsense, such stealing from the treasury bag – the stuff we call sin. In no way do I get a sense of ominous retribution worthy of separation from God. In the environment of that day, where you would sit on pillows, next to each other, to dine, I can completely understand why washing your feet would be an exceptional idea.
Would betray Him – paradidōmi – From G3844 and G1325; to surrender, that is, surrender, deliver, give over.
Yes, I am aware that paradidōmi also carries the idea of betrayal, but I do not believe that Jesus saw Judas’ actions as insidious. If that were the case, then Peter would have been a write off as well. In general, I could easily say that Judas surrendered or delivered Jesus to the Jewish council; however, I do not believe Judas meant for Him to be killed. Everything I see, as I study Judas’ life, demonstrates that Judas intended to force Jesus to rise on their behalf.
Consider this idea of delivering someone over to an authoritative force.
The Jewish leadership had temple guards, and this is who took Jesus captive that night. The Romans, on the other hand, were under orders to rapidly suppress any violent acts. Would the activities of the Jewish leadership have been seen in that light? This potential of misconduct is one of the reasons that Pontius Pilate so “rapidly” relented to the chief priests cries to crucify Jesus.
Luke 22:52 NIV Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?
One of the pieces of evidence we have that demonstrates that the Chief priests and elders took Jesus in the garden, is the fact that they brought Jesus to the “jail” beneath Caiaphas’ home. Archaeology has proven that this place existed. Here is where Jesus was challenged over His claims to be God’s son, and therefore God – a blasphemous claim worthy of death according to Jewish law. The result is that the Jewish temple guards beat Jesus, based upon claims that have nothing to do with what Romans consider rebellion before they ever handed Him off to Pontius Pilate to judge.
Judas knew full well what the Romans could, and would do to those that caused trouble, but Jesus never did any of those things; he also knew that the Jews had no power to put someone on a cross and this was, therefore, a moot issue in the mind of Judas.
Judas, just like all the others, walked beside Jesus in a state of puzzlement.
Just a few days before this, what had taken place? At Jesus direction they had secured an unridden colt (Matthew 21) – this would have been comparable to borrowing a new Mercedes luxury car, just as dignitaries might arrive in, and placing Jesus in it. Just the sight of such an event triggered off a mad rush of onlookers, many of whom had experience with Jesus and the miracles He performed. But now He is riding into town as a King might. This moment has to be significant, and it is a long enough ride for many to have the time necessary to gather palm branches to spread upon the ground before Him.
Now, put yourself in the place of the disciples, especially Judas, as none of them were sure how this entrance into Jerusalem was going to end; for some, I am sure they were hoping for some kind of overthrow. The underlying motive is the possibility that they would hold important cabinet positions under the rule of Jesus.
Did Jesus step up and rule?
No, but He did overthrow the tables of the money changers and chased the vendors out of the outer court. The blind and lame came to Him in the Temple, and He healed them. (Matthew 21:12) Jesus then became embroiled, for two days, with the chief priests and elders about His authority to do what He did, and who He was. All this was the lead into what we see in Matthew 24 and 25, and the questions the disciples asked, “when will all these things come to pass and what will the sign of your return?” You see, they expected Him to step up and reign two days before; obviously, based upon what you are telling us now when you come back it will be to reign, so when is that going to happen?
When the disciple John wrote “For He knew who would betray Him. Therefore He said, You are not all clean,” it was understood to mean, Jesus could see the end result. In the perfect tense, the word see, meant to know. Can I surmise Jesus knowing or seeing to be comparable? Yes.
Bullet points and blocks of copy in bold have been extracted from Got Questions Ministries. I have done this to make their information distinct from my own thoughts and comments.
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