GOD is the real subject of divine revelation, rather than man. Whatever He has told us
in His Word concerning any of His creatures is primarily a disclosure of Himself. The
characters in the Bible receive all their value from contact with the Deity, and reflect
His glory, not their own. This is not difficult to apprehend in the case of those whom the
Great Potter uses as vessels of mercy. Our knowledge of God is put to its supreme test
when we consider His connection with the vessels of indignation. Perhaps no case of this
kind is more typical than that of Judas Iscariot. God has told us much concerning him
which ought to lead us into a better appreciation of Himself. To be sure, the subject is
shunned, because it seems to cast a somber shadow across God's glory, and leads into
distressing difficulties. But these arise from false teaching, from current superstitions
and not from a knowledge of His Word.
Long before Judas was born, David, by the spirit of God, made several very definite
predictions concerning him (Psa. 69:25;109:8). He was to acquire a piece of property, but
neither he nor others were to dwell in it. He was to have the place of a supervisor, but
it was to be taken from him and given to another (Acts 1:16-20). I doubt if Judas knew
that these passages referred to him. Nevertheless, in all fairness, the question may be
asked, Was it possible for Judas to avoid fulfilling these Scriptures? Could he
have made void the Word of God? If these passages referred to the reader of these lines,
how would he feel about it? Is it right for God to bring a man into the world under such a
handicap? Centuries before he was born, Judas' fall was fixed. It was inevitable. Not
Judas himself, nor the whole nation of the Jews, which he represented, nor all the powers
of earth or heaven could keep him from betraying His Lord, or from buying the Field of
Blood, or from losing his place as an apostle. God had spoken. His doom was
|Judas was one
of the Elect
Judas was one of the "elect" in a very special sense. Our Lord said "Do
not I choose [elect] you, the twelve, and one of you is an adversary?" (John 6:70).
Christ knew from the beginning who would give Him up (John 6:64). Did He, therefore, warn
Judas of his awful danger? Did He put him out of the apostleship? Did He do anything, so
far as the record goes, to save him from his terrible fate? Did He allow Judas to suspect
what He thought of him? At the very close, just before Judas went out, when the Adversary
had already put it into his heart to betray his Teacher (John 13:2), our Lord gave Judas
the morsel with His own hand. This act was usually considered a special token of esteem.
By such a sign our Lord indicated to John who it was that was about to betray Him. Judas
was not helped.
Can we not picture the scene? The eager disciples are altogether perplexed by their
Master's assertion that one of them should turn traitor. Not one of them guessed that it
was Judas. Does not this show that the betrayer had done nothing out of the way, so far as
they could see? Indeed, they had honored him by making him the treasurer of their little
band. He was a thief (John 12:6), but outwardly he must have been rather exemplary to pass
so long as one of the twelve apostles. Our Lord knew what he was about to do. What did He
say to stop him? "What you are doing, do more quickly." Does it not seem almost
incredible that our Lord actually hastens him on his dreadful deed? (John 13:27).
Foreordained by God, one would suppose that Judas was born with the evil urge in him
which should lead to his downfall. But this was not the case. It was true that he was not
clean, as the other apostles were clean (John 13:10-11). Nevertheless, the impulse to lift
up his heel against the One Who fed him (John 13:19) and to betray Him to His enemies did
not come from within, but from without. Let us be clear on this point. Judas, by
himself, would not have betrayed the Christ. It was put into his heart by the
Adversary (John 13:2). And again the question arises, Could he have helped himself? It was
because his heart was not depraved enough that the incentive had to come from
without. The great Adversary could not trust him to do it of his own volition. Our Lord
knew what was in his heart, but does not lift His finger to deter him from his awful deed.
Rather, He hurries him in the doing of it.
It is a remarkable fact that Satan does not, as a rule, enter into, or "possess"
human beings. Demons make a practice of doing this. It is a pity that "the
devil" has been confused with "the devils" in English versions. Otherwise
the fact that Satan entered into Judas would stand forth, as it should, as a most notable
exception. The facts are clear. Judas, by himself, would not have betrayed Christ. The
arch-enemy did not entrust the task of coercing Judas to the hands of evil spirits or
demons, as would ordinarily be the case. He will employ such demon spirits at the time of
the end to mobilize earth's kings for the great day of God Almighty (Rev. 16:14). But this
most important task Satan did not leave to others. Contrary to all precedent, he himself
entered into the apostle and transformed him into a traitor (Luke 22:3).
We do not wish to make out that Judas was a saint, or that he was not a sinner like other
men. In fact, we wish to add this to the influences of which he was the victim. He was a
thief. So we may well suppose that the money he received for his treachery had some weight
in inducing him to transgress. The question is, whence came this tendency to covetousness?
Did he acquire if after "the years of accountability", or was it born in him?
Was it within his power to escape it? Like every other man, he was a son of Adam, and,
without having any choice in the matter, he inherited mortality and sin and condemnation
(Rom. 5:12,18), the lot of all mankind. If any reader of these lines has escaped this
tendency to sin, let him cast the first stone. Otherwise let him forbear.
|All the Powers
of Evil ...
Let us now count up the forces which were for Judas and those which were against him.
He doubtless had a conscience, for, when he realized what he had done, he not only
returned the money, but his regret was so overpowering that he took his own life. This
should show us what Judas himself thought of his transgression. His own estimate of the
sin that he had committed was that he had forfeited his right to live. Had he been free to
choose beforehand, would he have done this deed, which he regretted to the death? This
regret seems to have come naturally out of his own heart, without exterior constraint. We
are not told of any special visitation of God's spirit to bring on this change, to
correspond to the entrance of the Adversary, in order to make him sin. Judas himself,
naturally, sinner though he was, had an utter abhorrence of his own treachery.
But what of the forces against him? We have seen that his inheritance from Adam was not
sufficiently bad to compel him to commit such a capital crime. So the Adversary cast it
into his heart (John 13:2). This is a strong expression. It was no mere suggestion, which
could be repelled. The heart is the very center and core of our being. Out of it are the
issues of life. But still stronger is the expression, "Satan entered into Judas"
(Luke 22:3). Practically, the man was displaced. He was not acting naturally or normally.
He was not doing what Judas would do, but what Satan would do. To be sure, if God's spirit
had entered him first, then Satan could not have come. But God's spirit had not then been
given (John 20:22). No mere man, by the power of his own spirit, can withstand the great
prince of darkness. Judas was utterly powerless to prevent his entrance. He was an
involuntary tool in the hands of one much mightier then himself.
The only One Who could withstand Satan, and Who could have prevented his entrance into
Judas, knew all about his plight, but did not make the slightest effort to rescue him. Our
Lord had cast out many demons from strangers, but now that one of His own apostles is
under the power of Satan himself, He makes no attempt to expel him. On the contrary,
immediately after Satan had entered, He said, "What you are doing, do..." Can we
imagine Judas' impressions? His Lord singles him out for special attention, and seals it
with a dainty bit of food. Straightway he receives an irresistible urge to go out and
arrange to give Him up. Before his conscience can act, he hears the voice of his Lord.
Surely He knows his heart and is about to expose his treachery! But no, Christ also
urges him to go!
Why was it that our Lord gave him no helping hand? How could He send him away at such a
time for such a deed? Was He not, in effect, also against Judas? Did not Judas, as one of
His chosen apostles, have a special claim on His favor? Under normal circumstances, would
we not expect Him to guard these men who had cast in their lot with Him? That He did this
is evident, especially in the case of Peter. Satan claimed the right to sift all the
apostles, as the grain is sifted from chaff. Yet our Lord besought that Peter's faith
should not be defaulting (Luke 22:31,32). As a consequence Peter was not allowed to go as
far as Judas, due alone to the intercession of Christ. In His marvelous prayer, our Lord
avers: "When I was with them in the world I kept those whom Thou has given
Me in Thy name, and I guard them, and not one of them perished except the son of
destruction, that the Scripture may be fulfilled (John 17:12).
|All the Powers
of Good ...
Here is the secret of our Lord's apparent callousness. His every act was conformed to
God's written revelation. God had spoken. Not even pity could move Him to do anything to
hinder the divine decree. That is why He rather hastened it. That is why He deliberately
chose an adversary, and made no effort whatever to save him from his fate. But was our
Lord really callous? Did He enjoy having such a character among those near and dear to
Him? Acquiescing in God's foreordination, He seldom spoke of it, for no one else knew
about it and, of necessity, it could not be made known before the event. It was not at all
ideal to have a man like Judas about. Christ suffered much from contact with outsiders,
hard hearted scribes, hypocritical Pharisees, faithless Sadducees. Among His own close
companions and constant attendants, the only possible ideal would be unswerving loyalty,
We earnestly beg the reader to consider the facts we have presented and test them by the
Scriptures. Many may be tempted to cry, "Blasphemy!" Many may insist that God
could not do these things, no matter how clearly the Scriptures seem to certify them. But
these matters are so set forth that they cannot be misunderstood. The fact that they are
shunned shows that it is not a question of understanding but of believing. These facts are
in our Bible and will stay there whether we accept them or not. They should help us to see
that there are depths in God which we have not fathomed. They should show us that there is
something radically wrong with our theology when we cannot bear these "hard
sayings" or do not exult in these "dark sayings".
|... were also
Only once does our Lord bare His heart in relation to Judas, and that just at the
crisis when Satan enters into him, and he goes away to give up his Lord. Here again Christ
falls back upon the fact that the Scriptures must be fulfilled. "The Son of Mankind
is indeed going away according as it is written concerning Him, yet woe to that man
through whom the Son of Mankind is being given up! Ideal were it for Him if that man were
not born!" (Mark 14:21, Matt. 26:24). Here He was, with the twelve, just before His
sufferings, and He wished to pour out His heart to them. Alone with them in the upper
room, the conditions seemed ideal. But His sensitive spirit knew that they were not ideal.
One of the twelve hindered these sacred revelations. That one must be removed before He
can speak freely. So Judas is told to go. Then His heart is relieved. Fondly calling the
eleven "little children" for the first time, He utters the wonderful words as we
have them in the fourteenth to seventeenth chapters of John's evangel.
In all four of the accounts of our Lord's life, the first mention of Judas Iscariot is
accompanied by the statement that he is the betrayer. He was chosen with the rest of the
twelve. We know the compassion of our Lord. How the very sight of Judas must have
disturbed Him! Eleven true, trusting hearts. Why not unmask this one false intruder and
remove him from his office? It was written! Evil, such as this, must be borne, or the
Scriptures cannot be fulfilled. But the conditions certainly were not ideal. A potential
traitor is no apostle. Christ, no doubt, rejoiced in the honors He would confer on His
faithful band, in the kingdom. But He must also have shuddered at the prospect awaiting
one of them. How much it would have saved Him if that man had not been born! If Matthias,
who was also with them, had been in his place from the first, His heart would not have
been burdened by the state and fate of Judas Iscariot.
The usual translation, "Good were it for that man if he had never been born,"
has no foundation in the Original. In examining various translations, we must always bear
in mind that the tendency to translate in accord with accepted theology is so
overwhelmingly strong that a very little evidence on the other side is practical proof of
the correctness of any unpopular translation. This is an excellent example. It is well
known that the Revised Version margin is more dependable than the text, especially where
the reading of the Greek is given. All will recognize how impossible it would be to get a
two-thirds vote of the Revision Committee in favor of confirming this text to the
Original. Few men who would do such a thing would be chosen for such a task. Yet there
were a few who were faithful, and these succeeded in putting the truth into the margin:
"Good were it for him, if that man had not been born."
|The Birth of
Judas was not ...
In such passages as these we can realize the benefits of an exact concordant version.
What was good for the Son of Mankind, and what was ideal, are two
distinct ideas. I have no doubt that, at bottom, it was good for Him to have Judas, if we
understand by "good" that which will work out the most blessing in the end.
|... Ideal for the
Son of Mankind
The sphere of the word "good" is very wide and its force here is difficult to
define. But the Greek word kales, "ideal", limits the thought to that
which reaches our highest conception of perfection at the time. Twelve faithful apostles
would be ideal for Christ, though one traitor was doubtless among the all things that
worked together for good. So we may even be justified in saying that the birth of Judas
was good, but not ideal, for the Son of Mankind.
Whatever may be our estimate of Rotherham's Emphasized Version, we may be quite sure that,
at first, he made little attempt to pander to public opinion. The character of his
translation makes his testimony of special weight in a matter of this kind. He was not
concerned about the language so much as the sense. He renders it, "well would it have
been for him, if that man had not been born."
Two translations used by Roman Catholics have this text correctly turned. The Douay
version of Matthew 26:24 reads: "it were better for him, if that man had not been
born." Dr. Leander van Ess, in his German version, renders it "for him were it
better, such a human were never born".
Luther's version, by itself, is proof that the Concordant Version rendering is right.
Though the Greek is precisely the same in Matthew and Mark, he renders it correctly in the
former and twists it in the latter. May we ask, if it really read, good were it for Judas
if he never had been born, would Luther, or any other translator, make it read, good were
it for the Lord, if Judas had not been born? Never! But Luther reads (literally):
"it were better for him that the same human never were born". In Mark 14:21 he
renders the same words: "it were better for the same human that he never were
In the context immediately preceding, the identity of those referred to is fixed beyond
question. It may be set forth as follows:
|(The Son of Mankind)
|The Son of Mankind is indeed going away, according as it is
written concerning Him.
||Yet woe to that man through whom the Son of
Mankind is being betrayed!
Ideal were it for Him if that man were not born!
If it had read "Ideal were it for that man if he had not been born
(as usually mistranslated) then both would refer to Judas. But no unprejudiced reader of
the English or the Greek can possibly refer the Him to anyone but our Lord, Who
is so termed in the preceding sentence.
But if all the translations ever made rendered the passage incorrectly, that would not
prove anything except human fallibility -- which is already proven. The Original speaks of
the Son of Mankind as Him and of Judas as that man, and makes it clear
that it were ideal for Him if that man were not born. The real cause of
this mistranslation is the hardness of the human heart. On the one hand, who has been
concerned with the feelings of our Lord and His distress at having the traitor in His
company? Even his saints seem utterly unable to sympathize with Him in this trial. On the
other hand, they have allowed a just indignation at Judas' dreadful deed to degenerate
into vindictiveness, and attribute to our Lord the harshness of their own hearts. In
judging Judas they have condemned themselves.
The Scriptures show the utter helplessness of Judas. How could he flee from his fate? Not
only were the powers of evil against him, but the powers of good were just as determined
to make him play his part. God Himself had determined the role he should have, and Christ,
the only Savior, must act in accord with the divine decree. I beg my readers not to evade
the issue. Let them put themselves in Judas' place. What can a mortal do when Satan and
Christ and God all force him to commit a deed so awful in his own eyes that it drives him
to desperation and death?
It may help if I confess that I once feared to face this issue. I tried to find a way
for God to get out of this dilemma. The idea that He could make vessels for dishonor (Rom.
9:21), and then punish them eternally was incredible. And I was right. God could not do
such a thing. My mistake was to disbelieve God's plain statement and all the evidence
which sustains it in the Scriptures, because I had accepted a false theology in regard to
His future dealings with these vessels which He fits for destruction. Since I now know
that God will not only deal justly with them, but lovingly, I am able to believe God, and
glorify God, and exult in the God Who remains Love, even when He hardens and hates.
THE FUTURE OF JUDAS ISCARIOT
We have considered Judas' past, and now we will consider his future. All are agreed
that Judas has committed a crime which can have few equals in the annals of mankind.
Therefore he must be judged for his sins, more particularly for this supreme sin of his
career. For the sake of simplicity we will focus our attention on this one act alone, for
all else that he did sinks into insignificance compared with this. All are agreed that he
must be judged for giving up his Lord, but all are not agreed as to when and how. At least
four different answers have been given, which may be tersely stated thus: He must burn on,
burn out, burn up, or burn through. For him there is eternal torment, or purgatory, or
annihilation, or he must go through severe judgment to ultimate reconciliation (Col.
JUDAS TORTURED ETERNALLY
According to the most popular view Judas' full career would read something like this:
Foredoomed by God, long before he was born, to betray the Messiah, chosen by Christ
Himself to be the traitor, he proves too weak to perform his part, so Satan takes control
of him until he has done the deed, and, driven by remorse, he takes his own life. As
punishment he has been suffering in the flames of hell ever since and will continue to do
so until the judgment of the great white throne, more than a thousand years hence. Then he
will be tried and condemned to anguish unspeakable, above all other men, for a
never-ending eternity in the lake that burns with sulphur, miraculously kept alive to
undergo his agony.
We have tried not to exaggerate. Yet the plain statement seems so fiendish, so utterly and
horribly repulsive that one wonders how sane human beings can bear to think of it. The
fact is they do not consider it, or, rather they dare not face it. If
they did they would lose all faith in a god who is such a hateful, hideous monster. First
he fixes Judas' fate, foretells it long before, then gives him a place among the apostles,
with the brightest of prospects, then refuses to shield him from Satan, until the
dastardly deed is done and he dies a self-inflicted death. I repeat, Judas could no more
help himself than a piece of straw in a tornado. Not a person who reads these lines could
have done differently, had he been in Judas' place.
And now, for doing what God forced him to do in one short hour he is to suffer woe utterly
beyond human conception for all eternity! Such is the idol worshiped by Christendom. We
have shuddered at the awful caricatures of the deity which men carve out of wood or stone,
but none of them can compare with the revolting and hateful fiendishness which coerced
Judas to do wrong and then expends infinite power in torturing him, and works an eternal
miracle to sustain his life so that he is able to survive his sufferings.
It is not Judas who suffers most from this terrible travesty of justice, but the God of
Judas. This is intensely practical. The apostasy of these days is largely the result of
such terrible teaching. It has led to the virtual repudiation of the deity of God, and of
those passages which represent Him as the great Potter, Who fashions vessels for dishonor,
adapted to destruction (Rom. 9:21-22). The doctrine of eternal torment dethrones God. Only
an inhuman fiend can really hold to His absolute sovereignty and torture everlasting. Acts
speak louder then words. If God deliberately creates to doom and damn, it is useless to
insist that He is Love. Black is not white, nor darkness light, neither is hate love.
Judas will not burn on.
JUDAS IN PURGATORY
I know but little of purgatory, but I remember, when I was in the Sistine Chapel in St.
Peter's, in Rome, the guide explained that the worst offenders went right straight to
hell, below purgatory, whence not even the pope could recall them. So I imagine that
Judas' sin could not be "burned out", and he does not come within this category.
Judas will not burn out.
JUDAS JUDGED AND ANNIHILATED
The revolt against the awful injustice of eternal torment has led some to conclude that
Judas is to suffer punishment, not punishing. That is to say, death is
unconsciousness, and Judas as a part of his penalty, will be cast into the second death,
from which he will never emerge. This, evidently, is a great relief to anyone who has
God's name at heart. Judas, according to this, knows nothing until he is roused from the
dead at the great white throne. As a result of that judgment he will return to death in
the lake of fire, and that is his end.
Again, I insist, I am not so much concerned for Judas as for Judas' God. If this solution
is true, He will lose His reputation through His dealings with the betrayer. It will be
just a sorry piece of business in which His great Name will suffer severely. It will take
away the very foundations of His throne. Every righteous creature in the universe will
agree with me that it is unjust of Him to place one of His creatures in a position where
he must sin, and then not only punish him for it, but blot him out of existence. Judas
will not gain. God will not gain. It will be a total loss, and God will be the prime
loser. Moreover, God Himself has never said that this is His solution. It is only a
reaction from eternal torment, a deduction of reasoning rather than a matter of faith in
actual divine declarations. Judas will not burn up.
JUDAS JUDGED AND RECONCILED
With hearts sickened by the contemplation of human injustice, as applied to Judas
Iscariot, we turn with joy to God's own righteous and loving revelation. With bowed heads
we acknowledge Him as the Potter, the Deity Who does what He does, Who needs not give
account of any of His actions to His creatures. It was just and good of Him to doom Judas
to be the betrayer of Christ, for this was necessary to reveal the depths of human
depravity and the lengths to which mankind can be led when in the hands of the Adversary.
This humbling knowledge needed to be set forth by a concrete example. So the Potter formed
a vessel for dishonor, and destroyed it when its work was done. Such was Judas in the
THE JUDGMENT OF JUDAS
What of his future? He is dead, and awaits the judgment day in utter oblivion. God is
just, and does not hold Judas a prisoner for thousands of years before bringing him before
the bar. To his consciousness, the moment of of his death will also be that of his
resurrection, and his judgment will immediately follow. Let us try to enter into his
sensations. The last sight he has had of his Lord, was when Christ was condemned
(Matt. 27:3), and was being bound to be led before Pilate. The first sight he will have of
Him when he awakes will be as the Judge, upon the great white throne. What a
tremendous contrast! Even before his death his regret had led him to return his ill-gotten
gains and take his own life. Now that he stands before the august Judge, against Whom he
has so grievously sinned, what more will be needed to convict him, or show him the
heinousness of his sin? Will it not be unutterable anguish for his soul?
Recognizing the utter helplessness and irresponsibility of Judas, some may be tempted to
deduce that he deserves no further infliction whatever. But the is another extreme, false
as the first. We must always keep in view God's great purpose to reveal Himself and to
bless His creatures. Judas is a public character, just as Pharaoh was, and all creation
will judge of God as He judges Judas. Simply to pass over the betrayal, or any sin,
transgression or offense, would be false to His own standard of justice and fatal for the
future. All sin, and every evil deed, must be judged and condemned, and the appropriate
penalty inflicted. The only escape lies in the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus, and
this is only for believers, not for unbelievers who appear before the great white throne.
Sin must be judged, not simply for the sinner's sake, but for God's.
|God's Judgments Beneficial
Sin must be judged. Men are so unjust and their laws and tribunals so corrupt
that we have lost the great truth of judgment. As a consequence the word judgment
has been practically replaced by punishment. Men imagine that the whole end and
aim of God's dealings with them in the future is to make them suffer for their sins. But
God has already done much in the way of judging, and invariably He has had an end in view.
His judgment eras have always been beneficial for the world. The deluge washed the earth
of its iniquity. The judgment period now impending will cleanse it for the kingdom. The
judgment of every creature is a necessary preliminary to salvation and reconciliation.
Some have supposed that judgment is intended to be a deterrent, so that those who have
tasted the bitter fruit of sin will never offend again. This would be a very flimsy
foundation for the future. It is contrary to human experience. A man who has served a
sentence is not immune from temptation. He is more likely to fall than others who have
never been behind the bars. God's judgment is preliminary to a life in which there can be
no sin. Sin is due to death working in us. When there is no death and all are made alive
it will be impossible for them to sin. Sin and death go together. Life and incorruption go
hand in hand. Judgment is not needed as a deterrent for the future. But it is a necessary
preliminary to the glory of God and the bliss of His creatures.
The principles of God's judgment are given us just where we should expect them -- in the
opening argument of the Roman epistle. He will be paying each according to his acts. There
will be indignation and fury, affliction and distress on every human soul which is
effecting evil (Rom. 2:9). This agrees perfectly with the solemn announcement at the great
white throne: "And the dead were judged by that which is written in the scroll, in
accord with their acts" (Rev. 20:12). It is not for us to judge Judas or to determine
the severity of his afflictions. We may rest assured that the One Who sits upon the throne
will not mete out a mite more or less than what is right, not only in His own eyes, but
before the whole universe, and Judas himself. When did Christ, Who sits on the throne,
ever do aught else? Let us rejoice that the judgment of Judas is in the hands of One Whom
we all can trust. He knows Judas, and is able to sympathize as well as condemn.
Thank God that He is the Judge of all!
|Judas in the Lake of Fire
But this is not the end of Judas. His name is not written in the book of life. Hence,
once more, he will enter death -- his second death -- until the consummation comes. There
is no knowledge in the death state, hence, for Judas, the period of the second death has
no conscious existence. Even as the moment when he lost consciousness in the past will be
followed by the moment of his resurrection, so also the second death will form no part of
his experience. The whole of the long last eon, called "the eon of the eons" in
the Scriptures, will pass without his knowledge.
THE SALVATION OF JUDAS
od has declared that He is the Savior of all mankind, especially of those who believe.
Up to this time in his career Judas has known nothing of God as his own Savior. He has
been in His hands as the Potter, and was made a vessel for dishonor. As such he has been
destroyed. He knew Christ as his Teacher, when he was one of the twelve apostles. Later,
at the great white throne, he meets Him as Judge. But as Savior He is still unknown to
Judas. And only a Savior is of any avail now. Judgment does not save the one judged. The
afflictions he endures during his second life, between his resurrection and his second
death, give him no claim on God or His blessing. Salvation is only of God, through Christ.
God has lost Judas, and He alone can save him, on the basis of the blood shed on Golgotha
(1 Tim. 4:10).
|Judas at the Consummation
Along with all mankind, Judas has fallen into condemnation through Adam. But the God of
Judas has made it clear that Adam's one offense has its counterpart in the obedience of
Christ. Just as he was condemned on account of Adam's act, so will his life be justified
on account of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:18). Up to the time of his second
death Judas has not known God the Justifier.
God has declared that death shall be abolished. That, as in Adam all are dying, so in
Christ, all shall be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22). Judas died in Adam. But, when he is in the
second death, he has not yet been made alive in Christ. If he had been made alive in
Christ he would not be in death at all. The God of Judas must not only become his Savior,
but his Life (2 Tim. 1:10).
Created in the Son ...
Originally, Judas was created in the Son of God's love (Col. 1:16). He was created in
Him long before he was in Adam. If his place in Adam brings him so much shame and
condemnation, such a surplus of suffering and death, how much more will his earlier
position in the Son of God's love bring him salvation and life, justification and
reconciliation! What he received from Adam came to him without his consent. No faith was
required. He did not need to make it his own. Neither will it be necessary for him to
believe or accept or struggle for that which will come to him because he was in the Son of
God's love. How can he do any of these things when he is in the second death?
|... Reconciled by the Blood
God's Word is true. Death shall be abolished. All mankind shall be
saved and justified and vivified. All creation shall be reconciled. And Judas will not be
left out. It is quite impossible for us to realize what this will mean to him, condemned,
destroyed, alienated, twice dead. The God of Judas, at the consummation, will become his
Savior, his Justifier, his Vivifier, and his Reconciler. Is it possible for us to imagine
the relief, the joy, the ineffable exultation which will be his when he realizes that sin
and enmity and death are all past forever? When he sees that, though for a fleeting moment
he was a public vessel for dishonor, God was not sealing his eternal doom, but preparing
him personally for a deep appreciation of His future gift, will he not worship and adore
Him for it all?
The God of Judas, Who hardens hearts, Who molds vessels to display His indignation, did
not begin His work with Adam, neither does He end it at the great white throne. He
commenced with Christ and He will conclude it at the consummation. Adam, with his black
burden of condemnation and death, is only a parenthesis in God's revelation. We must not
judge God's work by it alone. Adam is not the Alpha of God's ways, and we must not make
him the Omega. Judas was not only in Adam, in Eden, but in the Beloved Son in creation. He
will not only be judged because of his inheritance from the first man, but also be saved
because of his earlier union with the Second.
God does not call Himself the God of Judas, because doom and judgment are His strange
deeds. They are temporary and terminable activities. The time is coming when there will be
no more doom (Rev. 22:3). Then it will no longer be necessary to harden a king's heart to
resist God's will, and thus reveal His power. Satan will never again enter a human being
to turn him against God, as in the case of Judas. Evil exists only in the times of the
eons, and doom is confined to the first four. It has no place in the last eon, when God
tabernacles with mankind. Judas is, perhaps, the best example of doom that Scripture gives
us. In considering his case we must emphasize the fact that God does not deal so with His
creatures at all times. It would be difficult to justify His course if it were His normal
and eternal procedure. It is exceptional and temporary. But its lesson is everlasting. The
temporary pain will lead to an eternal gain to the creatures of God's heart.
THE GLORY OF GOD
No man is "responsible" for his own birth. "To be or not to be" is
not a problem for a creature. The Creator has kept such matters under His own control.
Hence He alone is "responsible". If it were good for Judas never to have been
born, the only one to be blamed is the One Who alone could foresee his career and prevent
his birth. Yet He, on the contrary, predicted his course and made his birth inevitable.
God's Word would have been found untrue if Judas had never been born. Hence it was good
for God that Judas was born. And what glorifies God is always a blessing to His creatures.
It is good for us that Judas was born. And, in view of God's glorious ultimate, we may be
sure that Judas himself will praise and adore God for giving him birth. The words in our
popular versions are utterly false. It would not be good for Judas if he had
never been born.
We have well nigh lost the true idea of deity. We speak of God as "allowing"
this and "permitting" that, as though He could not help Himself. We have
forgotten that He is Elohim, the great Disposer, Who works all according to the counsel of
His own will. We refuse to believe that all is out of Him. As a result we are
timid when called upon to face the facts in the case of Judas, for we fear for the God of
Judas. If Judas is eternally damned our fears are justified, for he will drag down with
him the Deity Who predicted his career and doomed him before he had been born. But, if
Judas is eventually saved, all of these fears are groundless, and we can look into the
face of God unafraid, with holy awe, as we bow in submission and acquiescence to His will.
Some day we will see that the terrible tragedy of the present will issue in the
unspeakable glory of the future.
Leaving Judas' own fate out of the matter, what about the future of the God of Judas.
Shall this man be an eternal eyesore in His universe. Shall God's glory be eclipsed
forever by His dealings with the traitor. He claims to be Love. Is it love to doom and
condemn the helpless. Justice is the foundation of His throne. But how can He justify His
condemnation of Judas before he had even been born. His wisdom can cope with any problem.
Then why did it fail in Judas' case. Every attribute that adorns the Deity is called into
question if Judas is eternally lost. His is a test case. Declarations are empty unless
accomplished by deeds. If God's acts deny His words He will lose the confidence of all His
creatures. It is not Judas' fate, but God's deity which is at stake.
But the love of God is wise. The case of Judas will prove it, not deny it. By
saving one who sinned so fearfully, God's affection for His creatures will be displayed,
not eclipsed. And the love of God is just. In justifying one whose hands were reddened
with the blood of the great Sacrifice, His righteousness will be revealed, not violated.
Judas' dreadful deed was committed under the very shadow of the cross. Who dares to limit
the value of the blood of Golgotha, to confine the abiding efficacy of that august
Sacrifice. God has made it the basis of reconciliation with all (Col.1:20). He
has the ability. He has the wisdom. He has the love. And He will do it! Adored be His holy