As I close this out, I find I can’t give you a definitive answer as to where Judas Iscariot is. However, I think what I have given you is enough to show that we serve a merciful God and that not everything is so black and white that you can exclaim that Judas is in hell.
In talking about what I had learned as I did this study, a person who feels they are a biblical expert brought up the rich man and Lazarus. They pointed out that they think the rich man was in hell. I responded with, there is a problem with that, and it is a fact that there has, as yet, been no judgment. The final judgment will not occur until the end of the 1000 year reign of Christ, at the great white throne. Since, God has not judged anyone, nor sent anyone to hell as yet, why do you have the right to send someone to hell prematurely? They agreed that no one has been judged as yet, but had no reasonable response as what to do with the rich man.
Apparently, there are some things we don’t understand. Now I happen to think that the answers are there in scripture; we just don’t see them. An example of this was made clear to as I was editing this document so that I could post it in sections. I was reading John13:25-27 where Peter asks John, who was leaning back against Jesus if he would ask Jesus who is the one who will betray Him?
(26) 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, the son of Simon Iscariot. (27) As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” [NIV]
For the first time, I read this passage and saw something I have never seen before. Jesus statement toward Judas Iscariot may not have been directed at Judas; Jesus may have been speaking directly to Satan, just as He had done when Peter expressed how he would not allow them to kill him. Jesus turned, and looking straight into Peter’s eyes and said, get behind me Satan.
Matthew16:22-23 NIV Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.”Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” (23) Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
I showed this insight to a friend who used to be an administrative law judge (I find him to be a speedy reader who absorbs information,) and he immediately, after looking at the passage for himself, said, you are right, this does open the door to that possibility. There is no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit knows that the timing and release of understanding are pertinent and needed. This release of information is the theme we see as the Book Of Daniel closes.
Daniel12:1-4 NASB “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. (2) “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. (3)“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. (4) “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.“
I obtained the arguments against Judas from this source https://www.gotquestions.org/Judas-Iscariot.html. I have made comments in defense of Judas Iscariot below the bulleted points. The original document has, for the most part, been turned into bulleted points and the paragraphs as well are highlighted in bold type.
The thesis opened with a question and an answer:
“Who was Judas Iscariot?” Answer: Judas Iscariot is typically remembered for one thing: his betrayal of Jesus.
While his betrayal, as they put it, maybe the one thing we remember about him, let’s see if I change your heart and attitude about him.
- Judas Iscariot fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 41:9, “Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me” (cf. John 13:18).
The author of this treatise points out where Jesus says:
“I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen, but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’ (John 13:18 NASB)
Psalm 41:9 seems to be what Jesus was referring to. [NIV] “Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.”
Do not think for a second that this was a surprise to Jesus. He knew all along what would happen.
TheThe Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury says this about the phrase, may be fulfilled.
“We find something that closely resembles this idea in the NIV, where it tells us “this is to fulfill this passage of scripture.”Maybe fulfilled, is the Greek word plērōthē. It is the subjunctive mood of probability, and cannot apply to predestination. The subjunctive is used when the action “…is viewed as contingent upon certain existing and known conditions—being objectively possible…””
The UCRT goes on to say, “What is predestinated cannot be a probability, but must be absolute!” (Cf. Mark 14:49).
“Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” [NIV]
So again we see that the Jewish council knew who Jesus was and plotted almost daily to take him and kill him. But Jesus makes it clear that this moment in time has been set aside for this action to take place, and nothing will stop the plan of redemption now.
- Yet Judas was fully responsible for his actions. Jesus said, “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born” (Matthew 26:24).
This paragraph may be the most condemning statement of all that has been made merely because it says, “It would be better for him if he had not been born.” What are we to make of this?
Scriptures related to this statement are:
Psalms 41:9 NASB Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.
Psalms 109:8 LITV let his days be few, and let another take his office;
Romans 9:21-22 LITV Or does not the potter have authority over the clay, out of the one lump to make one vessel to honor, and one to dishonor? Jer. 18:6 (22) But if God, desiring to demonstrate His wrath, and to make His power known, endured in much long-suffering vessels of wrath having been fitted out for destruction,
While these passages may sustain the argument for many, there is one additional passage, which Jesus spoke, that may demonstrate some form of grace.
John 17:12 LITV While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name; I guarded those whom You gave to Me, and not one of them was lost, except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
The word perdition is the Greek word apōleia. Sadly, it means ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal), damnation, and destruction.
How do you fight against that?
While the word perdition is fairly damning, how do I treat a man whose job it is to fulfill scripture?
If you must make a statement like Judas being responsible for his actions, then you need to define in what way Judas demonstrated that responsibility. If going back to the Jewish council and telling them, in a manner, that their actions were wrong and therefore his actions were wrong, is taking responsibility, maybe I can see that. Hanging yourself does not demonstrate taking responsibility. But aren’t we all responsible for Jesus death?
Here is my perspective on responsibility for actions. Satan and a third of the angels had a choice to live in peace with God, but they did not; humankind also has the choice to live in harmony with God and others, but most choose not to. This freedom to choose is called free will; sadly though for every action, there is a reaction, and Judas experienced his. Since free will is so problematic, why allow for it? Because it gives us the freedom to choose to love the Father.
- Matthew 27:6–8 reports that the chief priests took the “blood money” from Judas and bought a potter’s field as a place for burying foreigners (thus fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 11:12–13).
- Acts 1:18–19 continues the story of what happened after Judas’ death and gives some additional information. Luke reports, “With the reward, he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field;
So Matthew tells us that the chief priests took the money and bought the field, but Dr. Luke, in the book of Acts conveys that Judas bought the field.
First, none of the disciples were there to see the transactions, and so all anyone has is gossip.
Secondly, why would Judas have the foresight to take care of his own death. Not likely.
Thirdly, where did Dr. Luke get his information?
The Biblical Illustrator commentary gives us the most definite clue as to the authorship of the Gospel of Luke, and therefore the clear link to the information Luke was able to obtain about this field. “Of the writer of the third Gospel nothing whatsoever is known, except that he was the faithful friend and companion of St. Paul.”
There he fell headlong, his body burst open, and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.” The additional detail we learn from Luke is that, after Judas hanged himself, his dead body fell into the very field purchased with his ill-gotten gains.
“Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this,” this tells you several things.
1. Judas Iscariot was more well known than we are told.
2. Nothing is secret.
3. It suggests that people cared about Judas Iscariot or else they would not have cared what became of him.
- Given the fact of Judas’ close proximity to Jesus during three years of ministry, it is hard to imagine how he could follow through on such a dastardly betrayal.
Setting aside the crass, unfounded remarks which lay the brunt of all that happened to Jesus on Judas Iscariot, there is 1 Peter.
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds, you have been healed.” (1Peter 2:24 NIV)
What is my take away from this?
That Jesus, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross. Jesus did this for us, and Judas was merely a player in the grand scheme.
- Judas’ story teaches us to guard against small, gradual failings that gain strength and power in our lives and that could open the door to more deadly influences.
This idea of guarding against small, gradual failings is sound wisdom and should not be looked at in an accusatory tone.
Although we have no direct evidence of Judas’ motivation for handing Jesus over – outside of Satan entering into him, we can make a logical assumption that he had one, and had toyed with the idea frequently. The fact that Satan used him specifically for that purpose readily plays into that idea.
You cannot repeatedly toy with ideas, such as indulging your fleshly desires, without those indulgences becoming deadly.
- His story is also a great reminder that appearances can be deceiving.
The assumption I am left to make is that Judas Iscariot was a poser; you know the type, they act a certain way in front of the religious crowd, or some girl they are trying to impress when their real motive lurks in the dark and is typically played out behind closed doors.
There is nothing about Judas that tells me he was like that; if there were, wouldn’t Jesus have perceived that in His spirit? Of course, He would; you can’t hide anything from God.
- Jesus taught, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:22–23).
The writer of this thesis added this passage to tack down his motive – to direct your thoughts. Sadly though, they missed the context, and it has nothing to do with Judas. The reference has everything to do with the judgment of the nations, and we see a tremendous picture of that in Matthew 25 – the sheep and goat judgment.
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