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Judas and the Betrayal of Christ

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Question #1:  

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I was reading this verse in Matthew: "When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. 'I am innocent of this man’s blood,' he said. 'It is your responsibility!' All the people answered, 'His blood is on us and on our children!' " (Matthew 27:24-25)

Does this verse mean that every Jewish person is responsible for Jesus' death?

Please, do not allow emotion and PC influence God's word (otherwise you'd have to accept gay marriage too!). God's foolishness is always higher than man's wisdom.


Response #1: 

It seems to me to be a "loaded question" (with a loaded "rider" at the end). Paul is a Jew – and Peter, and John and all of the other eleven genuine disciples. None of them are the least bit guilty. Nor our Lord's mother, a Jew, nor Mary Magdalene, nor Joseph of Arimathea, nor any of the other believers of the time – and what about the vast majority of Jews of that day who were not present at Jerusalem, or were not at this mob scene, or were under-age, or did not join in the mob sentiment or take this "oath"?

Our Lord could have prevented His crucifixion, calling in "legions of angels" to support Him, as he says. But as He also told Peter when Judas and the soldiers came to arrest Him, "But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" (Matt.26:54 NIV). Without our Lord going into the darkness on the cross and being judged for every single sin in human history, none of us could be saved. So if anyone is "responsible", it would have to be everyone of us, because "all sin" (Rom.3:23).

It is also important to remember that when dealing with historical matters, the Bible accurately records what happened. That does not mean that the Bible endorses everything that happens when it records historical events, or even that everything everyone says in scripture is true or accurate or a prophecy. The book of Acts, for instance, is replete with examples of genuine believers doing and saying things which are at best problematic (e.g., the misguided and unauthorized "election" of Matthias as an apostle when only Christ has the right to choose His apostles – and He chose Paul, of course, not Matthias). We have something of that here. Scripture does not say that Pilate is innocent of wrong-doing (cf. 1Cor.2:8), or that the crowd whipped up by our Lord's religious enemies were damned as a result of this horrific action (it is not beyond the realm of possibility that some later became believers, as many in Jerusalem did at the first Pentecost of the Church). We do know that the only sin which cannot be forgiven is that of rejecting our Lord and His saving work. Paul was certainly "guilty" of all manner of horrific crimes, and crimes against believers at that. But of course he is not only saved; he is the greatest of the apostles. So I would prefer to answer in Paul's words:

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
Romans 11:22-23 NIV

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord, the Savior of all mankind,

Bob L.

Question #2:  

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

Ever since I was a young girl I have wondered about the 2 staves and the 30 pieces of silver in Zechariah 11. I know that Zechariah was prophesying about Jesus and the Tribulation. But I hope you can shed some light on Beauty and Bands and is the 30 pieces of silver mentioned so that anyone who claimed to know the Torah would know who this prophet is speaking about?

And Judas should have understood this.

Thank you for your help in my bible studies,

Glory be the my Lord Jesus Christ,

Response #2: 

Good to hear from you. Zechariah 11 is a panoramic prophecy of the entire future history of Israel. As such, it is not immediately obvious in terms of its particular applications, even though some generalities, such as the rejection of God's will generally and the consequences of that rejection, would have been clear to all. This is often the case with Old Testament prophecy, and one of the best parallels I can mention are the parables of our Lord which likewise were not meant to be patently obvious to all, and needed rather to be explained – but only were to those who were interested in the explanation. God often works in this way, offering more than enough truth to all to make the point that all truth is available – and a means of explanation to those who seek it so as to find it; but for those who are not interested in the truth He allows them to leave it hidden and unrevealed. Isaiah 53 is another famous prophecy along these lines which like Zechariah 11 contains much that will only be open to those who accept Jesus as the Messiah, and much that is more clear once it has been fulfilled. As it says in 1st Peter 1:10-11, "the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow". You can find out more about the interpretation of Old Testament prophecy generally at the following links:

Hermeneutic Issues

Prophecy Questions

As to the meaning of Zechariah 11, it is somewhat complicated, and as I have translated and explained this whole passage elsewhere, I would invite you to have a look at that detailed explanation contained at the link: "Zechariah 11:4-17". As you very correctly say in your question, this passage is talking about both Jesus and the Tribulation, so that there is dual application of many of the features of this prophecy. The two staffs, which I translate as "delight" and "bindings", refer in general to the joy available to all in having a salvation relationship with God through Jesus Christ (anticipated in the Old Testament), and the restoration of the nation of Israel as God's covenant nation under our Lord when He returns. So the two staffs straddle the first advent and the Church Age which follows it and move all the way to the second advent (and indeed it was the case in Old Testament prophecy that distinguishing between the two advents was a mystery before it actually occurred; see the link).

The 30 pieces of silver are likewise dual in their application referring to the rejection of God in Jesus Christ before His death for us during His first advent, and also to the rejection that will take place of the restoration ministry that precedes His second advent, carried on by the two witnesses, Moses and Elijah (see the link for the details).

Finally, as to what may or may not have been known or knowable by Judas, the key limiting factor for all human beings in their relationship with the Lord or lack thereof is not one of knowledge or experience, but of willingness to know the truth. While not everything was knowable about the Lord's first coming before He came (1Pet.1:10-11), still and all there was more than enough truth revealed to bring all who desired it to saving faith and great spiritual growth – as, surely, the lives of great believers such as Job, David and Daniel make abundantly clear. So, yes, anyone who had devoted his life to the truth of the Word of God would have seen fulfillment of the various aspects of this passage in the coming of the true Messiah and His rejection by those to whom He came.

But as to Judas and his generation, they saw so much more. They saw Jesus in person. As John says, "We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (Jn.1:14 NIV). They saw Jesus heal the sick, give sight to the blind, turn water into wine, walk on the water, cause a single loaf of bread to suffice for thousands . . . and raise the dead (on more than one occasion). And more than that, they heard Him speak words of truth that could only be from God (cf. Jn.7:46). If they were unwilling to receive these witnesses from the Father, the interpretation of Old Testament prophecy would have been unlikely to move them. After all, there are many among the Jewish people today who know the Tanakh very well, and yet have convinced themselves that the true Messiah is yet to come. As in almost all things of importance in life, the issue is not one of knowledge, but one of faith and free-will. Judas and his contemporaries chose not to receive Jesus as their Messiah for a variety of reasons. God gave them more than enough information to see the truth, but also just enough distance to be able to choose what they really wanted to choose.

So it is always in life. The heavens proclaim the glory of God, but He graciously leaves enough "maneuver room" for our free will so that we can make a genuine choice about whether or not to serve Him who made them or ourselves. For those who choose for Him in Jesus Christ, He makes available all the truth we really want, if we but seek it so as to find it. For those who do not, He makes it possible for them to harden their hearts as hard as they wish until they have turned truth upside down and dwell in utter darkness. For such people, as with Judas, no illumination of scripture is going to be sufficient to turn them from their desired course.

I thank God for His mercy towards you and me and our brothers and sisters in Jesus for making the truth of our Savior shine clearly in our hearts unto life eternal!

Bob L.

Question #3:   

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Hope all is well with you and your ministry. I've read several attempts from theologians and bible students trying to equate what 30 pieces of silver in Judas' day would amount to in USD today. I've heard $16, $600, $120, and many other conversion attempts and they all differ. I gave up and decided to asked myself that if anyone knew, you would be the one. The reason why this question came to my mind was because I wanted to know the amount of money Jesus was betrayed for, and I also thought about the many ways people (and even some Christians at times) deny Jesus at times too and how much they feel He is worth in their lives. Bible passages such as carrying our cross and losing our lives for His sake came to mind. I heard a sermon on martyrs and how some "Christians" were tested by other Christians posing as enemies of Christ to put the other "Christians" to the test on how much they were willing to do for Jesus. They pointed guns at their heads and ALL of the professing Christians backed out and denied Jesus when their life were on the lines. The sermon ended by saying that if one is not willing to "live" for Jesus then there's no way that they can die for Him. And I truly believe this with all my heart. It troubles me when I see so many nominal Christians living their lives as if Jesus meant nothing to them. This is why I dropped out of churches. I didn't drop out of churches because I thought I was better than them, but because the people there only brought me down and hindered my walk with the Lord. I sought after Christians who were wise in their walk with God and help me grow spiritually. Sorry for going off on a tangent. I'm thankful to have a brother in Christ (you) that I can correspond with that knows and teaches sound doctrine. From my experience, bad doctrine in churches and Pastors not rightly dividing the Word of Truth leads to sheep going down the wayward path. Thank you for all your help in your replies for they have richly blessed me.

God Bless,

Response #3: 

Good to hear from you, my friend. Matthew is the only gospel to identify the amount of the silver, and he only says "thirty [pieces]" (fulfilling thereby Zechariah 11:12-13). Obviously, since we are not told the weight or denomination of the silver, we can only guess. We do know that it was apparently a small enough amount to fit into a bag so as to be able to be cast by Judas back into the temple (and light enough for him to be able to do so), but this is not much to go on. If by "thirty silvers" (the literal Greek), we are to understand one the most common of the silver currencies of the day in that place, the shekel, then we may be a little closer to guessing the weight. Pinning down the shekel is also not an easy thing except in relative terms, but scholarly opinion suggests it weighed the same as about four drachmas, an Attic/Greek measure which also varied by time and place, but is not unusually half an ounce in weight. That would make each one of the "silvers" two ounces, and thirty pieces would then weigh sixty ounces or somewhat less than four pounds. At today's prices for silver, that would be around $1,700 dollars. That is not really helpful, however, since our modern economy is so much different from that of the ancient world (e.g., there were no "I-Pads" for sale). A drachma is commonly figured (by people who make it their practice to calculate such things) to be equivalent to a day's wage for an unskilled laborer (note that the workers in the parable of Matthew 20 each receive a denarius, roughly the Roman equivalent to the drachma in terms of its value). So if thirty shekels equals 120 drachmas, we would have then about four months pay at the standard rate for labor. I suppose in our society that would be somewhere around ten thousand dollars, give or take. This is probably something like the correct figure: an amount that might tempt a greedy person, but one that is still low enough, even though substantial, to make anyone with scruples think twice about the bribe. As you note, this is a good point of comparison for all us to see just how much we really value Jesus in our lives. Those of us who really do "walk the walk" as well as "talking the talk" would not trade the smallest part of His truth for all the money in the world – let alone betraying Him and throwing away our eternal life in the bargain! We are looking to our eternal reward.

As to your feelings about "church" and "sermons", I can only say that I heartily agree. We Christians are here on this earth to serve Jesus Christ in the correct way. At some point, if what passes for Christian fellowship is really a dishonor to Him, should we not "vote with our feet" and search for something better? Would that every place that called itself a "Christian church" taught the truth of the Word of God accurately, and did so as its primary focus and purpose of existence. Would that at least a goodly number did so. But the situation we have here in the latter days of Laodicea is that there is hardly a "church" out there where the Word of God is taught at all, and where a Christian can even be safe from serious doctrinal error. In such a situation, the really honorable thing to do, it seems to me, is not to give into personal guilt and the guilt-trips that lukewarm brothers and sisters are only too happen to dole out by asking "Where do you go to church?" or "Where are you a member?" or "What denomination do you belong to?", but rather to stand fast with the truth, to walk firmly forward with Jesus, to serve His true Church, those who belong to Him, in the way He would have us to do, and to rejoice in whatever genuine provision of the truth our dear Lord graciously provides. New wine does not travel well in old skins. At some point, we have to stop compromising for the sake of appearances or out of guilt-feelings with what is tainted and/or thoroughly unhealthy, and determine instead to cleave to what is truly good, when we have eaten and tasted that it really is genuinely "good".

I have always appreciated your straightforward and "guileless" questions. I consider it a privilege that you have continued with this ministry, and want to let you know that you are always welcome here.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior, your friend forever in Him,

Bob L.

Question #4:   

I ran across this on the RealClearHistory website.


Response #4: 

Thanks for the link. I am happy to see the author comes to the same conclusion most conservative scholars embrace, namely, that 33 A.D. was the date of the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord. However, I come to this date by some of the alternative methods he alludes to here, not from anything astronomical. The "eclipse" that happened on the day Jesus was crucified lasted for three hours and produced total darkness – within which time the sins of the world were judged in His body. So this was no normal celestial phenomenon of the sort that can be tracked or predicted. Rather, it was a miraculous event (in the same that the "sun standing still over Gibeon" in Joshua chapter ten was a miracle) – and fittingly so since the whole of history is founded on those three hours on the cross.

Thanks for your prayers.

Your pal in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:  

Greetings Bob Luginbill,

I just wanted to send you a courtesy email informing you of a "Holy Thursday" view of Jesus' Crucifixion. I understand that your time is limited, so I really don't expect a response, though one would be welcomed if time permitted.

In this understanding I provide twelve visual timelines in the free "Twilight Report", of that most Holy Week, with God's Word visually seen from each timeline. Also provided is an explanation of the three critical errors that the ecclesiastical authorities commit in their current understanding of Holy Week chronological events. These critical errors do not apply to my understanding.

More prophesies were fulfilled during that Holy Week than are currently understood. God's Blessings to you.


In Christ's Service,

Response #5: 

I did have a brief look at your website (which, technically speaking, is quite nicely done, and much nicer than mine!). I am certainly aware that there is a Thursday theory – as well as a Wednesday theory. I wasn't able to locate the article dealing with the three errors you mentioned here (unless these are in the video – no time for videos, sorry).

I did find one critical error that may adversely affect the whole which you may want to address. At one point in your blog you suggest that there was a solar eclipse on the day of our Lord's crucifixion. I am no astronomer, but it is my understanding that a total eclipse can only last a few minutes, but we know that the supernatural darkness on that day lasted three hours (e.g., Lk.23:44). This was not a predictable event. This was the hand of God (and thus cannot be used for dating or chronology in any way). This is also a very important issue – far more so than the exact day of the week of the crucifixion – since it was during those three hours that our Lord suffered and died (spiritually) for the sins of the entire world (see the link: in BB 4A: The Spiritual Death of Christ).

Yours in the One who died for us all, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #6: 

G'Day brother!

Another question; do you believe Judas Iscariot was a true believer before he turned?

God Bless

Response #6: 

Given that our Lord says early on, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" (Jn.6:70 NIV), I think there is no question but that Judas never had saving faith.

In our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7:  

Hope your keeping well. Please if you can read through this small link below about Jesus being an apostate believer and let me know what your thoughts are.

Love In Christ

Response #7: 

Good to hear from you. For some strange reason this question is making the rounds lately. How serious Christians can think that a man whom Jesus called "a devil" (Jn.6:70) and "the son of perdition" (Jn.17:12) – the man who betrayed our precious Lord – could ever have been a believer is, frankly, beyond me. What I really find astounding is that some people have taken up the cause of defending Judas "once saved" status as a kind of crusade! As you know, I am much opposed to the "once saved, always saved – no matter what" school of theology. But going to the non-biblical extreme of pronouncing Judas a one-time believer just to make this point strikes me as so ridiculous on the face of it that it undermines the entire truth that some believers do turn apostate. In any case, it is not scriptural to claim that Judas ever believed. The Bible never declares Judas a believer; Christ does call him "a devil" and "the son of perdition". The Bible also declares that he was "a thief" (Jn.12:6). And all of these designations have the ring of observations about his confirmed and long time status (rather than being the result of some sort of recent fall from grace). It is also important to note that we have not a single indication from the scripture that Judas "changed" at any point. He seems always to have been a prim and proper type who seemed "nice" but had a darker side under his white-washed exterior. In fact, his self-righteous demeanor was such that when he left the last supper after Christ's declaration of His impending betrayal, none of the other disciples even suspected the traitor was him.

The main argument in this article is the one commonly advanced, to wit, that since Jesus sent out the disciples two by two to cast out demons et al., Judas must have been a believer. That is a whopping jump of logic. First, Judas is never said to have actually gone out, never said to have actually ministered to anyone, never said to have cast out a demon or anything of the sort. There are dozens of ways I can think of on the fly as to how this particular point of scripture can be squared with Judas not being saved, but no way to square the direct statements about Judas with an imagined, prior genuine belief. Judas is the archetypical hypocrite. He saw Jesus as offering earthly advantages, exploited those advantages as best he could by theft, and betrayed our Lord just as soon as it became clear that things were not working out – from the worldly point of view. It is important that the Lord chose him, and not just to fulfill prophecy. Judas stands for all the self-righteous wolves in sheep's clothing who seem to the world to be "the best Christian leaders", but in many cases are not even saved, and are merely exploiting the sheep who are foolish enough to be impressed by their outward appearances.

Here are a couple of other links on this topic:

Judas Iscariot

Was Judas Saved?

Why didn't the other disciples realize our Lord was talking about Judas at the last supper?

Judas and the plot to kill Jesus

What happened to Judas?

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Hi Bob,

Privilege to see the letter from your friend thank you. Do you think that Judas is a good example of Hebrews 6:4, since he tasted the heavenly gift in regards to being sent out by Jesus to heal the sick and raise the dead? He turned away from the Lord and was unable to be restored.

Your friend,

Response #8: 

It's a good question. In my view, everything scripture says about Judas marks him out as an unbeliever from start to finish (please see the links: "Was Judas saved?", "Judas Iscariot", and "Judas in the movie").

Hebrews 6:4, on the other hand, presents a picture of believers who have had the Holy Spirit poured out upon them (that is my reading of the language here). Paul is talking specifically about his audience, the Jewish believers in Judea and especially in Jerusalem, who were given the gift of the Spirit but who are now on the verge of apostasy because of their compromise with the old religion. He is reminding them of how they were once red hot for the Lord but are now experiencing the cooling off of their faith, and is warning them against allowing the process to go all the way the dead end.

It is a fair point though. Judas saw many amazing miracles – and consider what he saw our Lord do personally! As an unbeliever, he would have had no way of accomplishing this aspect of the ministry the Lord sent the disciples out on. Maybe that is one reason why Jesus sent them out in twos.

Your friend forever in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Question #9:  

Hi Bob,

With respect to your question/answer on was Judas Saved - I completely agree with you He most certainly was NOT. (Mk. 14:21 & Jn. 17:12). However, this begs the question was Judas EVER Saved?

The entire Passage of Matt. chpt. 10 seems to reveal Judas in a positive SAVED condition at THAT POINT IN TIME. In fact in Matt. 10:20 Jesus declares God is the Father of Judas, as well as the other 11 disciples referred to by Jesus in His comments just BEFORE He sent them forth to minister His work.

Likewise, if Jesus bestowed the Power of the Holy Spirit upon Judas as a SINNER to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, cast out devils, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, etc., then Jesus contradicted His own teaching in Matt. 10:26, Matt. 7:18, Mk. 9:39, et. al.

Meanwhile, to bear the name of The Son of Perdition for a final act of defiance and betrayal of Jesus, hardly recommends proof that Judas was ALWAYS The Son of Perdition from the very day Jesus chose him as one of His 12 disciples. Neither does the fact that Jesus KNEW beforehand that Judas would betray Him support the notion that Judas was ALWAYS a SINNER.

Is there a Scriptural answer to these questions absent speculation?

Is Judas grammatically included in the "THEM" of Jn. 17:12? Some translations use BUT (1508) some IF (1487)...?

John 17:12 (KJV) While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but/if the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

Response #9: 

I've been getting this question a lot lately, though your phrasing of it is original and very good. However, let me state from the outset my belief that Judas was never a believer. Let's first dispense with John 17:12. I know of no versions using "if" here to contrast Judas with the other eleven. Some use "but"; some use "except". Either of those words is an acceptable English equivalent for the Greek phrase ei me (ei alone does mean "if", but when followed by me means "if not" or in cases where there is no true conditional as here "except/but").

Matthew 10 is somewhat trickier. It is true that Matthew 10:5 tells us that our Lord sent out "these twelve", and it is possible that this includes Judas. However, it is also possible that Judas did not go. Firstly, we are not told specifically that he did go or that he did participate in all of the activities ascribed to the others. Were he not a believer even then, obviously it would have been pointless for him to go except for appearances sake. If he had gone out only for appearance's sake, this would not contradict Matthew 10:5 in any case (and his "partner" could have done whatever miracles and evangelizing were necessary to do). Secondly, it is possible that he didn't go because he was the "administrative disciple". He was the one who held the common purse, so there would have been an argument for him remaining "at H.Q.", at least for most of this mission time. Also, the term "the twelve" is sometimes used even when there aren't actually twelve, that is, as a term of office rather than a literal description of the number (e.g., a "triumvirate" is still an official position even if one of the three members dies). For example, all of the following passages occur after there are no longer twelve and before the call of the actual twelfth apostle, the apostle Paul:

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
John 20:24 NIV

. . . and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
1st Corinthians 15:5 NIV

And besides Jesus calling Judas the "son of perdition" (which seems like proof to me because it describes him generically as if it were always so), there are other indications that Judas was never saved in the first place:

Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!"
John 6:70 NIV

Our Lord's language seems to indicate that Judas did not become bad at some point (i.e., He does not say "one of you became a devil after I chose you" or something similar), but was always so.

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Matthew 19:28 NIV

Jesus' prediction here does not, of course, include Judas (Paul is the twelfth), so that the "you who have followed Me" while it must have seemed at the time (and may still seem from context) to include Judas in fact cannot. This is the vein in which I would understand Matthew 10 and other passages.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages. He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
John 12:4-6 NIV

Again, the language here indicates to me that this is what Judas "was". That is, he did not become a thief at some point during Jesus' ministry but was always such.

There are good reasons for why an unbeliever would have been chosen as one of the twelve. First, to fulfill the scriptural predictions of Christ's betrayal, but also to illustrate the important principle that not all who seem to be "of us" really are. In fact, just as Judas was the last person the other disciples thought might be the traitor (suspicion didn't even fall on him when he left the last supper right after Jesus' words to him), so it is the case today that sometimes it is the most squeaky-clean and righteous appearing individuals who are really not part of Jesus Christ. This is, in my experience and observation, disproportionately the case with "wolves in sheep's clothing"; that is, high-profile "pastors" who are really only in it "for the fleecing" . . . in the tradition of Judas. Judas saw a good opportunity and made the most of it, right to the end (or so he thought). Even to unbelievers, it was clear that Jesus was "something special", and Judas no doubt saw our Lord as a good "meal-ticket" with the potential of something more down the road (cf. Jn.6:26). When it became clear that this hope wasn't going to pan out the way he anticipated – in fact, directly after Jesus praised the "wasteful use" of the myrrh – Judas decided to "cash in his position" and sell out our Lord for whatever he could get. This, is seems, was his attitude from the start, consistent with an unbeliever acting the part of a believer entirely for the sake of personal gain.

Finally, our Lord seems not only know but to identify Judas' unbelief very early on:

"Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.
John 6:64 NIV

Feel free to write me back about any of the above.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:  

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your kind and scholarly response.

Allow me to respectively say right up front that the majority of your supposition is based on personal speculation.

Thus, regarding the "IF" vs. "BUT" respective of Jn. 17:12 - this "IF" version is found published in J.P. Greene Interlinear, ISA Westcott-Hort and http://biblos.com/john/17-12.htm, and most likely others as well.

The greek ‘ei’ followed by the greek 'me' used in Jn. 17:12 translated as two different words IF NO is stated to be a CONDITIONAL #1487 followed by a NEGATIVE PARTICLE #3361 – however, the KJV uses the singular greek CONJUNCTION ‘ei me’ #1508.

Meanwhile, I agree with your supposition that the term the "Twelve" can be used even when there is not actually Twelve present. However, in this particular instance the Twelve are specifically named in Matt. 10:2-3 and Judas is indeed among those named Twelve that are SENT forth by Jesus.

Moreover, with respect to Jn. 6:70 Jesus refers to Judas in the PRESENT TENSE as a "devil". However, that present tense "IS" was at a much latter point in the ministry of Jesus well past His initial choosing of Judas as one of His original Twelve disciples. This by no means validates that Judas was ALWAYS a SINNER.

Likewise, when Jesus called the lost Judas the "Son of Perdition" was at the time just prior to His betrayal by Judas - some 3 1/2 years AFTER His original choosing of Judas as one of His Twelve disciples.

For example, if I buy a new car today I KNOW that at some point in the future that is will FAIL me and become JUNK. However, that does not qualify me to suggest that the new car I have just purchase is JUND today or even ALWAYS Junk. Hence, it will only be decreed as JUNK at some point in the distant future when it FAILS. Thus, the case of the FALLEN TRANSGRESSOR Judas.

Respective of Matt. 28:19 - where does it say in that context of Passages that Judas HAD NOT FOLLOWED Jesus up to that specific point in time? Moreover, if we are going to base our entire supposition on some special meaning of the word FOLLOWING as the perquisite for sitting upon one of the 12 Thrones - the man who will actually sit upon one of those 12 Thrones in the seat of Judas as his replacement is Matthais, who was said to have COMPANIED with them from the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, and according to Acts 1:25-26 was chosen by lot to take the apostleship and ministry (one of the 12) of which Judas FELL by TRANSGRESSION. Matthias was declared to be numbered AMONG the Eleven Apostles making him number Twelve.

Acts 1:26 (KJV) And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with[among] the eleven apostles.

Please note, Scripture does not say that Matthais was numbered among the other mass of Believers but rather he was numbered AMONG the ELEVEN APOSTLES. Moreover, in Jn. 12:4-6 we are once again seeing Judas at a point in time in the ministry of Jesus and far from his original choosing as one of the original 12 APOSTLES (disciples) of Jesus.

However, the elephant in the room is if we suggest that Judas was ALWAYS lost then Jesus contradicted His own teaching in Matt. 10:20 & 25, Matt. 12:26, Matt. 7:18, Mk. 9:39, et. al.

Jesus declared to Judas, as one of the TWELVE APOSTLES, just BEFORE sending him forth to do his miraculous works by the Holy Spirit in Matt. 10:20, that God was his FATHER (remember Judas had just been named by name as being among the TWELVE that was sent out by Jesus).

Matthew 10:5 (KJV) These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, ...20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

Also, in Matt. 10:25 Judas was of the "spiritual" HOUSEHOLD of Jesus as were the other Eleven APOSTLES.

Likewise, in Matt. 12:26 Jesus declared Satan could NOT cast out Satan...Although, Jesus had just given Judas the power of God in Matt. 10:1 to cast out devils.

Matthew 12:26 (KJV) And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

Jesus declared in Matt. 7:18 that a corrupt tree CANNOT bring forth good fruit...If Judas was ALWAYS a corrupt tree then how did he do the good works?

Matthew 7:18 (KJV) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Moreover, Jesus taught that NO man could speak lightly of Him and do miracles...Judas did miracles as one of the SENT FORTH TWELVE.

Mark 9:39 (KJV) But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

With respect to Matthais being the 12th APOSTLE vs. Paul...

On the day of Pentecost following the resurrection of Jesus...

Acts 2:14 (KJV) But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

Paul was not even in the picture at this particular point. The first mention of Saul is Acts 7:58 at the stoning of Stephen. The first mention of Saul/PAUL with Jesus is Acts 9:4.

Response #10: 

Respectfully, in my considered view the Matthias angle is a "rabbit hole". Peter and co. chose him by lot – a practice never authorized in the NT – and did so before the Spirit was given on Pentecost. He is never heard from again, and we know from Revelation and elsewhere that there are only 12 apostles, not 13 – and Paul is most certainly not left out. For more on this see the links: "Matthias and the Numbering of the Twelve Apostles" and "The Apostles and the Jerusalem Council". The one point I will repeat about that here, since "numbering" is something you find persuasive, the Greek actually has not syn-psephizo, but syn-kata-sephizo, which, according to usage and etymology, ought to mean, "was condemned (kata) by the vote along with the others". In other words, the Spirit is testifying that the "election" was of man, not of God (even if the versions are not willing to take the Greek at face value). Compare Luke 22:3 where Judas is described as being "of the number of the twelve", a phrasing designed to show that he was not actually one of the twelve, just considered by appearances to be so.

As to Acts 2:14, as I mentioned earlier, this is a title (sometimes they do say "the eleven" when one of the "twelve" is mentioned specifically). It does not mean that Matthias was an apostle in God's eyes (which he was not).

While the Bible does call Judas "a devil" (Jn.6:70), "the son of perdition" (Jn.17:12), and "a thief" (Jn.12:6), the Bible does not call Judas a believer. In my view, therefore, it is far more speculative to believe the latter over the former.

On ei me, I do have a doctorate in Greek, and I can assure you that this phrase means "except/but"; it cannot mean "if" alone. Interlinear versions are notoriously problematic when it comes to this sort of thing, namely, being forced to choose between translating individual words, phrases, and words and phrases in context. They really don't work with Greek which is not a word-order language in any case. They can be helpful for those who do not know Greek, but they have to be used with care (it is not as if they were the authoritative "last word", especially given their inherent limitations).

As to Matthew 10, there are dozens of ways the statement can be true without making Judas a believer (e.g., we are not told that he actually did what he was told, or went at all, or did miracles, etc.). That is not the case with the three declarative statements listed above.

As to "is", well, what was our Lord supposed to say? "One of you was not a devil but became a devil and now is a devil"? If Judas were not always a devil (or "the son of perdition"), I would expect Jesus to have phrased this much differently. But what about "thief"? It seems clear that Judas did not become a thief under the influence of our Lord's ministry. He did not just steal once. He was always a thief – a their "by profession" – and that is the way he is presented. The most natural and unassuming way to take all three passages is as generic descriptions which are timelessly applicable. If they were new developments, there is nothing at all in scripture to suggest it.

As to "following", this clearly must include salvation (e.g., Matt.4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 10:38; 16:24; etc., etc.).

Finally, the notion that "Jesus contradicted His own teaching" is incorrect:

"You are the salt of the earth"
Matthew 5:13 NIV

Were all who heard these words saved? Not at all. This truth only applied to those who were. As our Lord says

"and you are clean . . . but not all of you."
John 13:10

Here Jesus qualifies – but only because He is only a few hours away from being betrayed. He did not always qualify, nor should we expect it. I am afraid that if we don't take into account that our Lord (and the Bible) makes true statements all the time – which however do not help or apply to any unbelievers who are receiving them – the interpretive disaster across all of scripture will be enormous.

Finally, one reason why I am so adamant about this is that in my view this issue has been springing up all over the place because anti-OSAS types are looking for an argument. This is the wrong one. First, because it is not true. But, secondly, because from an apologetics point of view it is the worst possible ground to stake out I can imagine. That is the case because the notion that Judas might have been saved but lost his salvation is so offensive, prima facie flawed, and impossible to prove, that it is likely to have exactly the opposite of the intended effect: it is likely to confirm OSAS-ers that they are right and we on the other side are have no idea what we are talking about since we are so clearly "crack-pots" – rather than getting them to carefully re-examine their incorrect position. There are plenty of passages which teach the possibility of apostasy for believers without trying to make Judas into one.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your kind and prompt response. I DO AGREE with you COMPLETELY regarding the greek "ei me" it is to be understood as BUT, EXCEPT, UNLESS, etc.

Meanwhile, regarding Matthias if his choosing by the Apostle is a "rabbit hole" then the PRAYERS prayed to God by the Apostles immediately before they cast their lots also did not go up to God BUT went down into this same said proverbial "rabbit hole".

Acts 1:23-24 (KJV) And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

In my opinion, if these men were indeed praying unqualified and unanswered prayers to God at this point, on an issue so Scripturally and eschatologically critical, then we need to dismiss any and all of their further teachings. Meanwhile, the mention of Peter and the Eleven in Acts 2:14 follows the then most recent choosing of Matthias in Acts 1:24-25.

Moreover, respective of Matt. chpt. 10 it is completely irrelevant as to whether or not Judas actually went out. The FACTS are Jesus "equipped" Judas, at the very onset of Matt. 10:1, with the SAME identical Spiritual POWER to do all of the described miracles, just as he did the other Eleven Apostles.

Matthew 10:1 (KJV) And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Likewise, Judas heard the SAME identical instructional dialogue BEFORE the sending forth of the Apostles as did the other Eleven Apostles - hence, Matt. 10:20 "...YOUR FATHER will, give you what to speak in that hour..."

Therefore, it does not matter whether Judas actually went out or not - he was EQUALLY EQUIPPED to do so, just the same as the other Eleven Apostles were instructed and Spiritually equipped to go forth.

Meanwhile, seeing that Judas as a suggested SINNER (child of the devil) was BESTOWED the POWER to "cast out devils" by Jesus, does indeed contradict Matt. 12:26, et.al., and the teaching of Jesus Himself - whether Judas actually cast them out or not is irrelevant - he was given the POWER to do so by Jesus.

Matthew 12:26 (KJV) And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

However, as far as Jesus was concerned Judas indeed was SENT FORTH with the Twelve Apostles, BUT if Judas actually hid himself out and did not go this is only speculation.

Matthew 10:5 (KJV) These twelve Jesus sent forth...

In my opinion, there is a vast amount of evidence that Judas was NOT ALWAYS a SINNER from the time that Jesus choose him as one of His 12 disciples - but actually became one.

Thus, this brings me back to my original question - Does the English grammar construct of Jn. 17:12 support the fact that Judas was equally GIVEN to Jesus from God and included in the "THEM" of this Passage, along with the other Eleven Apostles?

Response #11: 

1) It is a commonly misunderstood but critically important hermeneutic principle that historical books in the Bible accurately relate what people did without necessarily endorsing what they did. That is particularly true of the book of Acts (the obvious examples are numerous), and I think that the failure to understand this principle has caused more doctrinal confusion in the Church than perhaps any other (especially when it comes to cases like this which are not as obvious).

Unbelievers pray all the time. And believers sometimes pray the wrong way and for the wrong things. And without the Spirit, prayer was not as effective as it has since become. Further, there is a very important "tell" here that confirms the wrongful nature of what these genuine believers did on this occasion: they gave God two options! This is like flipping a coin and saying, "Dear Lord, if it comes up heads, then I will marry Jane, but if it comes up tails, I will marry Sally, so please make sure it comes up according to your will!" That's great – except what if God doesn't want this person to marry Jane or Sally? That is exactly the situation we have here. Jesus Christ picked the 11 and Judas (to fulfill prophecy et al.) – and Jesus Christ picked Paul as the actual and eternal twelfth. The disciples were not authorized to pick a replacement apostle; they took that upon themselves. And that is why scripture actually says (in the Greek) that they were "voted down" by the Lord along with Matthias who was not our Lord's choice.

2) Just because they were wrong here does not mean that the epistles of Peter, for example, are not divinely inspired. David wrote Psalms through the Holy Spirit. He also committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered. The latter was wrong as wrong can be, but that does not mean his Psalms are not holy scripture.

3) I gave you my answer on Acts 2:14 previously. It's not any sort of conclusive evidence – for one thing because according to scriptural usage Matthias might not even have been present when our Lord gave the original commission (there is no evidence he was).

4) On Matthew 10:1, I still don't think this necessarily includes Judas, given Greek and Hebrew usage when it comes to collectives (see the link: "The Hebrew word for all"). However, even we do wish to assume that it did include Judas as actually receiving such temporary gifts, well, we know from Acts 19:12 that even handkerchiefs which had touched Paul had the capacity to do these very same things, namely, drive out demons and cure diseases – if that is true of a handkerchief touched by Paul, it might well have been true of Judas who would then have been empowered by our Lord even if Judas were not a believer (after all, handkerchief's don't believe either). It is also true that God sometimes uses fallen angels in a similar way (see the link: "God's employment of evil spirits").

5) The three passages calling Judas "a devil" (Jn.6:70), "the son of perdition" (Jn.17:12), and "a thief" (Jn.12:6) are descriptive of his status. They invite anyone reading them to expect that such he always was, and there is nothing in the scriptures to indicate that this status was the result of some sort of fall following his call. Since the time for such a major change of apostasy was relatively short (John 6:70 occurred over a year before the crucifixion so Judas was definitely already lost at this point), the burden of proof remains on those who want to make Judas a quondam believer to demonstrate from scripture some indication of a change. "Thief" is particularly significant in this regard. It is hard to imagine a scenario wherein Judas was a believer but then lost his salvation and became a thief. The passage read naturally indicates that this is what he always was – a thief by profession – whereas even assuming a fall into apostasy doesn't explain this description. Why did that hypothetical fall cause him to become a thief? Plenty of pious unbelievers are not criminals.

6) The last passage you ask about, John 17:12, provides perhaps the most telling indication of Judas' status as "once an unbeliever and stayed an unbeliever": Judas "perished" because he was "the son of perdition". Both the verb and the noun are from the same root in Greek so that a better way to get this across would be to translate "none of them is damned except the son of damnation . . . in order that scripture might be fulfilled". The Hebrew phrase "son of" gives us an innate categorization. I.e., the Israelites are "the sons of Israel" meaning that such is their natural heritage. John and James are "sons of thunder", meaning this is the natural characteristic they possessed. It may not be decisive, but it is a very strange thing to call Judas if his status as an unbeliever were the result of recent backsliding. Please note: Jesus does not say that He "lost" anyone, even though He does say that He Himself guarded the eleven who were given to Him by the Father. For these reasons, I think we cannot say that because the text says "of them" that Judas necessarily was saved. Because once we commit to that interpretation, then I see no way that Jesus' words "I kept them and guarded them and none of them perished" would not be contradicted. There are also no exceptions made earlier in the chapter (which by the application of the same logic should mean that Judas was still saved just a few verses earlier):

"I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours."
John 17:6-9 NIV

Since the above identifies all those "given" to our Lord by the Father as saved, I think we have to leave Judas out of "those You have given Me" in John 17:12 since he was not saved. Perhaps that is why the queen of the manuscripts, Sinaiticus, has a stop at this point, leaving "apart from the son of perdition, etc." to stand alone as an aside. So I think that it is not only possible but preferable to understand the first part of the verse as an emphatic statement referring to the eleven, with the second part added as an explanation but not meant to be understood as including Judas with the rest in the first part.

Judas was never saved, even though he put on a good appearance. In the near future, the entire world will be deceived by one who not only does the same but actually will claim he is Christ. Perhaps for that reason the beast receives the same identical designation in scripture as Judas does, one that in antichrist's case certainly does reflect an inveterate status:

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.
2nd Thessalonians 2:3 NKJV

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:  

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your kind and scholarly response. Please allow me to say right up front that you have based your entire supposition of both Matthias vs. Paul and Judas being ALWAYS a Sinner on "SPECULATION". Meanwhile, your arguments to each stands or falls on the fact that you choose a "speculative reading" vs. a "literal reading" of both Jesus and Paul in Matt. 10:1& 5; and 1Cor. 15:5 respectively, when they refer to "The Twelve", such that ALL Twelve could not have been present at that time of their speaking.

1 Corinthians 15:5-8 (KJV) And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

To this end, what you do not have is one single Scripture that clearly declares that Judas was literally ALWAYS a SINNER from the very first day forwards when Jesus chose Him as one of His Twelve Apostles. The only Scriptural support you have is speculative circumstantial evidence that reveals Judas cited as a SINNER much latter into the ministry of Jesus and some even as late as the Last Supper event itself. Going forwards, you take Jn. 17:6-12 out of CONTEXT, for your reason, in suggesting the exclusion of Judas from those who were "GIVEN" to Jesus by His Father as quoted below... (emphasis added)

"...Since the above [Jn. 17:6-9] identifies all those "given" to our Lord by the Father as saved, I think we need to leave Judas out of "those You have given Me" in John 17:12 since he was not saved..."

What you have not considered and included in the context of Jn. 17:6-9 is that Jesus qualifies those whom He is praying for and why...He was ONLY praying for those at that time that God had "given" Him that had BELIEVED. Hence, Judas no longer believed and had returned to the WORLD. There is no mention whatsoever that ONLY the ones that were SAVED had been formerly "given" unto Him by His Father – ONLY that He was praying for those that BELIEVED that had been GIVEN to Him by His Father.

To reiterate, Jesus declares that NONE of those whom He was PRAYING for were LOST, because they had BELIEVED and it was those that Jesus had KEPT – the ones that willingly BELIEVED.

John 17:12 (KJV) While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

Therefore, nowhere in this context of Scriptures does Jesus ever suggest that Judas was NOT GIVEN unto Him as one of the Twelve – but simply He was ONLY praying for those who had continued to BELIEVE. As such, Jesus reveals that NONE of those who BELIEVED were indeed LOST, of those that God had GIVEN Him. BUT the one whom did NOT continue to BELIEVE that God had GIVEN Him, he was LOST...Judas.

However, Jn. 18:9 makes it perfectly clear that it was not the fault of Jesus that any of them were LOST. It was the fault of Judas himself that he was LOST and not Jesus. Jesus KEPT those that BELIEVED. He could not force Judas to continue to BELIEVE.

John 18:9 (KJV) That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

Response #12: 

Since scripture never pronounces Judas a believer but does call him a thief, a devil, and the son of perdition (a title only used elsewhere of antichrist), it is certainly at least equally "speculative" to say that he was once saved. This is not a question of speculation but one of interpretation. And in all such matters what is important is determining the truth. There are ways to go about this when there is a question about what the Bible actually says, and I have engaged in the process of examining this question with the same hermeneutics and the same approach I use in all my biblical studies. Some "problems" are more difficult to solve than others, it is true, but I am confident that with faith in the truth, with diligence of method, and with careful attention to the guidance of the Spirit, those who knock will be answered . . . even if it sometimes takes a bit of time and a bit of effort.

I stand by the things I have written, and consider them to be an honest effort at interpreting the question you asked. You certainly don't have to be worried about not agreeing with me on this – there are very few people out there who would agree with everything found at Ichthys, after all.

As to Matthias, I do have to correct your impression of my own research here. I posted the article I linked on Matthias many years ago, long before I had ever even heard that anyone might think that Judas was "once saved".

The verse you cite, 1st Corinthians 15:5, ought to give pause, it seems to me. Paul says that Jesus was "seen of the twelve" – but at that point Judas was dead and the pseudo-installation of Matthias had not yet occurred. Therefore my point about "the twelve" being a technical term of designation for the college of the apostles is certainly well-taken. It absolutely has to be here in 1st Corinthians 15:5 since there were only eleven at that point but yet they are called "the twelve" even so. But as to the fact that Paul is the twelfth alone . . .

But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man (i.e., Paul) is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel."
Acts 9:15 NIV

Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Revelation 21:14 NKJV

Paul has his name on one of the gates of New Jerusalem. Matthias does not.

As to "you do not have is one single Scripture that clearly declares that Judas was literally ALWAYS a SINNER", there is also no verse which declares him a believer. We work with what scripture tells us. That is interpretation.

As to John 17, I am perplexed that you would argue that verses from the same chapter are not part of the same context. Our Lord is praying "now" for the apostles who are apostles "now" and describing the situation "now" wherein they are saved though Judas clearly was not "now" saved. The point is that in the very same prayer where you find the "problem" our Lord declares "I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours" (Jn.17:9). Throughout this prayer, our Lord is praying for the apostles, and He does not make an exception for Judas – because Judas does not belong to "them". That is also the case in John 17:12, and that is the answer to the (only apparent) dilemma. The adding on in that verse of the aside beginning with "except for the son of perdition" does not mean that Judas was "one of them" in the sense of being a believer, otherwise, all of the statements earlier in the prayer have to apply to him too which they clearly cannot (i.e., if he is part of "them" in verse 12, he is surely part of "them" in the earlier verses too). This may not satisfy the test of English language logic to the tastes of all, but it is very common in Greek expression and in Hebrew as well to be more general about groups. And it is not necessary to find fault with the way things are expressed here since they are certainly clear enough to be understood. Our Lord's prayer is for the eleven. Judas is not one of the group of the saved – nor was he ever. And the language of John 17:12 in the broader context of the chapter cannot be construed to mean that he was on the one hand, and yet also be consistent in Greek usage with understanding that he was not on the other. Since this conclusion also agrees with the other evidence of the gospels (reviewed above and a number of times now), in my opinion the burden of proof lies with those who want to make Judas a believer to show how that might be so – and it is a burden to heavy to lift.

Finally, thank you for reminding me about John 18:9:

This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: "I have not lost one of those you gave me."
John 18:9 NIV

It is difficult to see how this might even possibly be true if Judas were ever a believer. Because if he were ever a believer, he certainly would have had to have fallen into the "given" category (as even John 17:12 would argue). The only way out of this is to accept the hyper-Calvinistic position that apostatizing believers were never really "elect" in the first place and so not really believers in the full sense of the word, so that Judas would not "really have been given". If that is accepted as true, then the question of whether or not such a person was "ever really saved" is entirely moot, since we would have to categorize such a person as a "not really saved believer". And that would be true of Judas as well. If Judas were a "not really saved believer", then I would prefer to focus on the first part of the expression ("not really saved") and leave the second part as an entirely incidental point. In fact, people do genuinely believe and do actually apostatize, and scripture describes such individuals as believers for as long as they believe. If Judas were saved, then he would have been "given" and then would have been subsequently "lost" (so that our Lord would have had to say phrase John 18:9 differently than He did). That situation was theoretically possible for all of the apostles, but, in spite of wavering as Peter did, all came through with their faith intact – except for Judas, who never had any faith in the first place . . . as far as it is possible to decide the matter from the scriptures in my view.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #13:   

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your kind response. You state the following...

Paul says that Jesus was "seen of the twelve" -- but at that point Judas was dead and the pseudo-installation of Matthias had not yet occurred.

When Paul makes this statement regarding the seeing of the resurrected Jesus by the Twelve he is speaking of a PAST event... By the time Paul was making this statement Matthias had ALREADY been chosen as one of the Twelve. Thus, Paul was simply stating a FACT that now existed at the time of his speaking. Therefore, what did Peter say about Matthias? Peter declared that one must be chosen who HAD BEEN a witness of the resurrection of Jesus along with all of the other Apostles.

Acts 1:21-22 (KJV) Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

Thus, Matthias did indeed witness the resurrection of Jesus with the other Eleven Apostles. Therefore, Paul was correct when he declared that Jesus was seen of the complete Twelve.

Meanwhile, you state the following:

As to "you do not have is one single Scripture that clearly declares that Judas was literally ALWAYS a SINNER", there is also no verse which declares him a believer. We work with what scripture tells us. That is interpretation.

There is however a Scripture that declares Judas was once SAVED. Matt. 10:20, from a literal reading, absent your speculation that Judas was NOT PRESENT, reveals that Jesus taught the Twelve BEFORE sending them forth, that God was THEIR Father - Judas included.

In summary, respective of Jn. 17:6-12 Jesus was NOT PRAYING for Judas because he had not KEPT His Word. Jesus was praying ONLY for those that God had GIVEN Him that were still BELIEVING (the Eleven) and had KEPT His Word.

However, please allow me to humbly state this again, NOWHERE in the context of those cited Passages does Jesus EVER state that the ones He was praying for were "ALL" the ones that God had originally GIVEN Him when He (Jesus) FIRST chose His Twelve Disciples.

John 17:6 (KJV) I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

What you are insisting upon is that the Eleven was "ALL" that God had originally GIVEN to Jesus.

As stated, Jesus was not praying for Judas because he had not KEPT His Word and he was LOST at that time. Hence, Jesus declared none of THEM (ALL of those God had originally GIVEN him) is lost EXCEPT the Son of Perdition... Judas is part of the THEM...

Many grammatical English and Theological scholars include Judas in the THEM "exception" statement...but they equally note he was LOST.

Meanwhile, please show me the phrase "ALL" that God has GIVEN Me...in the context of Jn. 17:6-12.

Nonetheless, when I state that your suppositions of both Matthais and Judas are founded primarily on speculation I do have considerable cause, especially regarding your treatment of Matt. chpt. 10 and Acts 1:23-26.

However, it has been very informative and I have taken up enough of your gracious, patient and valuable time - and I must say I did not even know that Paul was ever considered to be the 12th Apostle by anyone...I have to get out more often.

Response #13: 

You are very welcome. However, it seems we are continuing to plow the same ground repeatedly on this one. I'm sorry if you can't agree with my explanations on this, but then as I often have recourse to say this ministry attempts to answer all questions posed on biblical subjects and to provide expository teaching on the whole realm of biblical doctrine – so it would be very unusual for anyone to agree with everything. I do stand by what I have written and would be happy to discuss any new points, should they occur to you.

I will add that as your gifts (and possibly also your personal ministry) seem to tend toward apologetics, I would urge you not to make use of this particular argument in trying to convince OSAS-ers of the error of their ways. Even if it were true that Judas was once saved and then lost (which as you certainly understand by now I personally don't think is true), it is not obvious from scripture and flies in the face of the most natural reading of the gospels (i.e., this would be "news" to most people, even if you feel you have some convincing arguments). The net effect of using Judas as an example, therefore, is likely to be the precise opposite of what one desires (i.e., a loss of credibility on the subject generally). Further, shaky believers who are OSAS are likely to think or at least intuitively suppose that since they are "not nearly as bad as Judas" they are thus incapable in being of any danger of loss of salvation – at least as long as they don't overtly betray the Lord in some similar way. In fact, of course, loss of salvation is all about the dying out of one's faith. Actions of the sort of Judas' horrific betrayal of our Lord, tend to be more of symptoms rather than the cause (for all the dynamics of the process of apostasy and its distinction from the sin unto death, please see the link).

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:   

Dr. Luginbill,

I have a question which concern Christ's betrayal by Judas. During his ministry, Jesus' identity certainly wasn't shrouded in secrecy. Judas was accompanied by a detachment of troops and officers from the chief priests and officers, who, without his signal, may not have been readily familiar with the Messiah, but couldn't the Lord's enemies have authorized his arrest without Judas' cooperation? The biblical rejoinder to my question, is, of course, because "it is written" or "For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled", (that is to say, it was prophesied or foreshadowed that is would be so in Psalm 41:9, Zechariah 11:12-13, and Mark 9:31, Mark 10:33, and Mark 14:17-21); nevertheless, it still begs a prosaic answer to my question: Why didn't Jesus' enemies just arrest him without the cooperation of Judas? This is a rather odd question, to be sure, and I realize that there may not be a logical answer.

Response #14: 

On the arresting of our Lord, well, the incident took place in the dead of night, and since everyone dressed in pretty much the same way, from the point of view of the Jewish elite it would be very difficult to track down the "culprit" without some sort of guide, especially in a wooded area the exact location of which was only known precisely to those who frequently repaired there. The Pharisees, Sadducees and rulers probably expected our Lord to "run for it" if they tried to capture Him in this way, and without help to find the exact place and identify Him specifically amongst a crowd in the dark, no doubt feared that He would escape. Naturally, they were wrong about this just as they were wrong about everything else.

Question #15:  

What is the meaning of this verse?

"Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the man, My Associate," Declares the LORD of hosts. "Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones.
Zechariah 13:7 NASB

Response #15: 

This is a prophecy of the sufferings of the Messiah, and that is why the second part is quoted by our Lord in anticipation of the temporary scattering of His disciples preceding the cross (Matt.26:31).

Question #16: 

One more question on Zechariah 13:7. You explained that this is a prophecy of the sufferings of the Messiah, quoted by our Lord. What I would like to understand is the wording. Am I correct to assume that this words are spoken by God the Father, as the first line could suggest? What is the 'sword' ('O sword')? Am I correct to understand the sword in the following way:

Since our Lord was betrayed by Judas, God the Father has so arranged the history in His perfect plan that Judas would appear at a specific time and in a specific space so as to betray our Lord, which would mean that 'O sword' is the Father using the devil and those who serve him, for His own perfect purpose. Please explain and correct where me where needed.

Response #16: 

I would take the sword as symbolic of the last sufferings of Christ generally from the time He and the disciples reached the garden of Gethsemane and He was arrested.

Question #17:  

Could you please clarify what is meant by 'And I will turn My hand against the little ones'?

Response #17: 

I believe this refers to the persecution of the "sheep" once the Shepherd is no longer around to protect them (which will thus have an immediate fulfillment in the pursuit of the disciples, but also continue to be applicable to the Church until Jesus' return, especially during the Tribulation).

Question #18: 

Regarding Zechariah 13:7, I understand the point you make here, although I am not clear as to why first person is used ('I will turn My hand against the little ones', as if it was the devil speaking here).

Response #18: 

This whole passage portrays the Lord as the Agent of all that happens. Clearly He is in that nothing can happen in history without His allowing it to happen – and without having first entered it into the divine decree of all that would happen. So this applies to the Lord as the Ultimate Agent of all things, whereas in physical terms the Pharisees and their soldiers were the lesser agents, induced no doubt by demons, acting at the behest of Satan, with the permission of God, to fulfill every aspect of His Plan. In terms of this passage's applicability to the Tribulation, believers will then be the objects of this sort of attack, carried out by minions of antichrist, at the beast's behest, motivated by his father the devil, in accordance with the Plan of God and the Will of God without anything untoward occurring to them/us unless it be for the good in every way (even though it may well be hard to see it that way at the time).

Question #19:  

Could you please clarify John 13:26-30. Verse 28th says: "Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him". How is this possible, if verse 26th says: "Jesus then answered, 'That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.' So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot."

Did the rest of the disciples not see Jesus give the morsel to Judas?

Also, you wrote: The disciples had a common purse (which Judas kept, Jn.12:6; and which was used to buy necessities such as the requirements of the Passover: Jn.13:29). Verse 29th starts with: 'For some were supposing' - so I'm not sure, whether Jesus actually said the words: "Buy the things we have need of for the feast", or was this sentence by our Lord not said, but only supposed to be said by some.

Response #19: 

This first part is a question I get quite a bit. You are certainly correct that it seems impossible for the disciples not to have put it together. My understanding of this is that Judas was the perfect self-righteous unbeliever, the type of person who is whitewashed so well (hiding his/her real sins) that he is the last person anyone would ever suspect of any sort of wrong-doing. Judas must have been such a "goody-goody" to all appearances that the other disciples assumed, as scripture says, that he left for some other purpose – despite what our Lord had just said. This is not the first time that the disciples proved to be slow on the uptake.

As to your second question, this is what the disciples supposed only (not what was actually happening).

Question #20:  

Regarding the dipping of the morsel and the words which disciples thought that our Lord said you wrote "this is not the first time that the disciples proved to be slow on the uptake" and "this is what they supposed only." You also said that 'it seems impossible for the disciples not to have put it together' and at the same time they were supposing that our Lord said to him words which he didn't say - could you clarify?

Response #20: 

What I mean is that they should have "put two and two together" and not have made some false assumption for which there was no basis. They must not have wanted even to think that Judas was the culprit. I suppose we are all going to face this sort of dilemma in the very near future. Scripture is very clear that those closest to us will often be the ones who betray us for our faith in Christ during the soon to come Great Persecution (see the link).

Question #21:  

Could you explain to me the causal relationship between believing in our Lord, and the Romans coming and taking away Pharisees' place and the whole nation?

John 11:48: "If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."

Response #21: 

The religious leaders are afraid that all will believe in Jesus unless they kill Him (unlikely, in my view, since even today so few do). Their fear was that if the whole nation proclaimed Him king (which thing in fact He refused to allow: Jn.6:15; and made it clear that He had not come to assume temporal authority at this time: Matt.22:21), that the Romans would see it as a revolt and destroy the nation or at least its current power structure, namely, them. Of course if they thought Jesus really were the Messiah, they would know that He could handle the Romans or anything else. They do not believe, and by "believe" here they mean "be tricked into thinking".

Question #22:  

You wrote: We have suggested above that our Lord "saved up" for this ministry, and we probably see an example of this in the colt provided for His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on "Palm Sunday" (i.e., our Lord had no doubt provided for this necessity ahead of time in order to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9; cf. Matt.21:1-7). Do you think then that the disciples paid for the donkey, even though it's not been specified?

Response #22: 

My guess is that our Lord Jesus paid for it (or rented it) out of what was left of His own private resources, and that this is why the disciples were allowed to take it when they came for it.

Question #23:   

Mark 14:57-58: Some stood up and began to give false testimony against Him, saying, 58 "We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.’"

Why is this testimony false? Is it because our Lord didn't say it would be Him who would destroy the temple, but rather the Jews? As in John 2:19:

Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
John 2:19 NASB

Response #23: 

Just as "this Rock" is Jesus, not Peter, so "this temple" is His body, not the temple per se ("But the temple he had spoken of was his body" Jn.2:21 NIV). But to the point of your question, consider Mark 14:59 NIV: "Yet even then their testimony did not agree". So we do not have the full report of all the false testimony they gave against our Lord. I think it is part of the picture here that these false witnesses were gathered for the express purpose of condemning our Lord and they were only too happy to do so (and based upon Judas' experience it seems not unreasonable to suppose that they were paid for it). So it is not as if these individuals are honest and determined only to tell the truth; rather they are willing to say anything necessary to see Jesus condemned. That would certainly make a person a "false witness" in my book, even if as is usually the case that in the course of their testimony they accidentally quoted something accurately. After all, it is very clear that they understood Jesus incorrectly so that their representation of the quotation is objectively false: Jesus did not actually say "I will destroy this temple"; what He said was "[if you] Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days". So they were literally incorrect as well.

Question #24:   

Could you please clarify the words of Caiaphas and what was the motive behind him speaking them:

(49) Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! (50) You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.

Response #24: 

Caiaphas' motive was to induce the Sanhedrin to kill Jesus, but in doing so he unwittingly gave an accurate prophecy of the substitutionary death of our Lord for all Israel (and all mankind).

Question #25:  

You wrote: but the other disciples apparently suspected him least of all as we can surely discern from the fact that he does not even come under suspicion even after our Lord gives John and Peter such a clear sign in the dipping of the sop (Jn.13:26-28), and then essentially names him in response to his question "Is it I?": "You have said [yourself]" (Matt.26:23-25).

Some translations of the passage from Matthew say: "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" (NASB) instead of "Is it I"?

Regarding the same question by Judas - what was the purpose of it? Was it aimed at clouding the vision of other disciples? Or was Judas so lost by then that he was lying to himself about his betrayal?

Response #25: 

The versions go both ways. What I like this first rendering you quote of meti ego eimi is that it brings out Judas as being in the posture of pretending he knows nothing at all about the matter instead of asking a simple question. Judas is trying to deflect attention. The others all asked this question. He was probably nervous about the prospect of being conspicuously the only one who didn't. That fact argues against "surely not" (which may be a little to strong in any case). The adverb meti is usually emphatic rather than necessarily suggesting a negative answer. The problem is bringing all this out in the English effectively. Maybe, "Is it ME?" is closest to representing the posturing and indignation meant to deflect attention.

Question #26: 

You wrote: Immediately upon entering Jerusalem that first day, our Lord went up to the temple mount and swept the court of the gentiles clean of the commercial enterprises that had turned the worship of God into a human system of monetary transactions, exactly as He had also done at the beginning of His earthly ministry (Matt.21:12-13; Mk.11:15-18; Lk.19:45-48; cf. Jn.2:13-22).

a) Why did you write 'that first day'?

b) You wrote: 'exactly as He had also done at the beginning of His earthly ministry', but don't these passages refer to the same event you're describing?

Response #26: 

a) I mean the "first day" of passion week.

b) Jesus cleared the temple twice: once at the beginning of His three and a half year ministry, and once during passion week. John 2:15 refers to our Lord's previous clearing of the temple (that is why it is "cf.-ed" instead of offered as a direct parallel).

Question #27:  

Could you please clarify on Psalm 55:12-15; do these verses refer to Judas? If so, why do they say: 'a man my equal', 'my companion and my familiar friend'? Also Psalm 69:4: "What I did not steal, I then have to restore."

Response #27: 

Yes, this is prophetic of Judas and his betrayal. NIV has for the verse you ask about: "But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend", and I find that to be an acceptable and preferable translation of the Hebrew ce'erchi (כְּעֶרְכִּי). As to Psalm 69:4, I'm not sure precisely what David is referring to. He underwent many troubles in his life, after all. If this is meant to be Messianic, perhaps our Lord's being deprived of all He possessed on the cross is the best reference.

Question #28: 

In the footnote no.70 you wrote: 70. i.e., rabbi, or "Rabbi", meaning, "my great one", precisely the greeting our Lord has told the disciples not to use for each other (Matt.23:28), but one Judas was apparently fond of using for Jesus, clearly part of his deceptive modus operandi of flattery he didn't really mean (Matt.26:25). Did you mean Matt 23:8 instead of 23:28? Also, Matt 23:8 says that there is 'one teacher', so wouldn't the usage of 'Rabbi' be warranted towards Jesus?

Response #28: 

"Rabbi" means, literally, "my great one", and only "my teacher" by later extension.

Question #29:  

One more question regarding this footnote. You say that our Lord told His disciples not to use the greeting "Rabbi" towards each other, but does it apply to Himself also? Isn't He the 'one teacher' to whom it applies? I understand that the problem here is that Judas didn't mean it, I just wanted to be clear as to whether it was lawful to use this greeting towards our Lord, since you make a point that Jesus told the disciples not to use it.

Response #29: 

It's a good point. While sometimes "Rabbi" is used for our Lord in neutral circumstances, it most often turns up where those using it are trying to cover up some personal inconsistencies (e.g., Peter at Mk.9:5; Nicodemus at Jn.3:2; cf. Matt.23:7), and I think that is definitely true in Judas' case.


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