Editor's Note: Craig Gross is the pastor and founder of XXXchurch.com. He has written seven books and speaks across the country on a range of topics. He just turned 35 and is no longer a hip 20-something pastor from California.
By Craig Gross, Special to CNN
I heard a news clip promoting my recent speaking engagement at a church, and they mentioned that I deal with some of "the greatest sinners of all time."
I thought to myself: Do I? Would people who are caught up in porn and sexual sin addictions consider themselves some of the greatest sinners of all time? Probably not.
Without a doubt, Judas, the biblical disciple of Jesus, is considered the greatest sinner of all time because of what he did to Jesus.
Here is the passage from Luke 22:21-22.
Do you realize that the hand of the one who is betraying me is at this moment on this table? It's true that the Son of Man is going down a path already marked out.
No surprises there. But for the one who turns him in - who turns traitor to the Son of Man - this is doomsday.
Let me tell you a little bit about what the Bible says about Judas:
He was personally chosen to be an apostle by Jesus.
He spent 3 1/2 years traveling with Jesus.
He saw all the miracles of Christ in person.
He watched as Christ healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out demons.
In terms of experience with Jesus, whatever you can say about Peter, James and John, you can say about Judas.
On top of all this, he handled the money, which is most of the time the most trusted one in the bunch. No one suspected that Judas would betray Jesus, which tells me he was a believer.
His life was changed.
He knew Jesus personally.
In a dark moment of his life, he made a mistake. A big one. He sold Jesus out for 30 silver coins or so. The moment he knew what he had done, he felt remorse, and he killed himself.
I am not here to debate theology. The facts are the facts. I don't think Judas was “The Mole,” like the reality show character who's there to sabotage the game from the beginning. I think he made a mistake and now has gone down as committing the biggest sin of all time.
Judas heard every message, saw every miracle, and still screwed up.
Recently, I asked on my Facebook page: "Is Judas in heaven or hell?"
The first response was:
Judas is in hell today. He has been there for 2,000 years and he will be there forever.
There is a button on Facebook that I have started to love. It is called “unfriend.” I won't unfriend you because you believe differently than I do, I just don’t need more theologians as my friends on Facebook who speak with such confidence when it comes to someone's place in eternity.
A debate continues on my Facebook wall. I love how everyone is so convinced they know whether Judas is in heaven or hell.
I don't know who gets in, actually. Do I believe in heaven and hell? Yes. I believe one is dark and one is light, and they both last forever.
Belief Blog: What if there is no hell?
What is interesting to me is that in the upper room where Jesus and his disciples shared their last supper together, the 12 disciples all talked about how they were so great. Peter left the room and denied Jesus three times. Judas left the room and sold Jesus out for 30 coins.
One committed suicide, and one went on to build the church as we know it today. Both Peter and Judas committed the same sin. They both denied Jesus. But why do most people think one goes to heaven and one goes to hell?
This is not the debate Christians need to be engaged in. We don’t know. Instead of wasting our time on these types of arguments inside our little Christian world, maybe we should look inside ourselves this Easter.
It is easier to debate these issues and make speculations about others than it is to actually look at ourselves in the mirror. It is always easier to think someone else is worse off then we are.
But maybe as we approach Easter, we can be reminded that for Christians, the cross and the grave should silence all of these debates. We all fall short and deserve death, but because of what Jesus did on the cross 2,000 years ago, we are able to have life. And I believe that where you end up, God only knows.
I made this article that uses bible verses to explain why Judas is in Hell and not in Heaven. Check it out!
I would like to believe that Judas is not in Hell, but in purgatory going to heaven. He made mistakes and I feel he was emotional troubled after betraying Jesus, he knew what he was doing but felt overwhelmed with remorse. He gave the money back and even repented saying he betrayed Jesus I believe Jesus forgave him and so should we. When I think of Judas I think of the many people who commited suicide, they did not know what they were doing. And Jesus also said Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. ANyway we were not there to know at the moment when Judas died what he might have said or even thought at the moment before death. He could have said Lord forgive me for what I am about to do.This is how I feel
"Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?"
The difference between Peter and Judas was Peter repented to Jesus and Judas repented to the religous leaders and then went out and killed himself. He was chosen as a vessel of dishonor.
Matt. 26:24 "...It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."
I think this ultimately answers the question Heaven or Hell. Although I am in no place to decide.
What i believe all true christians should think about in relation to whether Judas is in heaven or hell is think about it from an outside point of veiw... Did Judas sell Jesus out? Yes. But Jesus told them all at the table that one would yet noone belived him, so later that night with the idea in his head he did as ge was told. Yes, he did send Jesus to his mortal death and killed himself on top of it but had he not comitted this treasonous act, then Jesus himself would not have given himself for your sins and you would all forever be punished for a simple mistake just as you all try to condemn Judas to for his one mstake.
@The Bobinator – I respect your opinion... you make some good points, but they are made out of anger. You seem to be a VERY angry man. I suggest some deep breathing and a heavy belt of Scotch (works for me). As for poking fun at my book... don't you think your cheap shots might be a little narrow, seeing you've NEVER even read it. It does have great reviews and is selling pretty well (albeit, not as well as my other books), so there has to be some redeeming value to it. Just because it's not your cup of tea doesn't mean your opinion speaks for the world. For those who just stepped into this thread, the book I’m talking about is described below:
I've written a humorous book about Heaven and Hell. The story goes like this:
Satan has a problem. He has come up short on his quotas for collecting souls and he is none too pleased. With the help of his loyal and trusted companion, Grim Reaper, the pair orchestrate a natural disaster that will balance the “books”.
With an undertaking of this size, the two will need to hire some help. They outsource the work to Jesus, Hercules, Mary and Joseph, right under the nose of God. The plan is doomed from its inception, but Satan is a determined little demon and will stop at nothing to succeed. With Jesus’ drinking problem, Hercules’ steroid addiction and Mary and Josephs marital troubles, could Satan’s plan really have a chance?
Follow the long cast of immortals as they manage to turn their celestial world upside down.
The link below will take you to a better "showing" of the book.
My apology for the shameless promotion.
Description: The Core of the Islamic Creed: the belief in God and His worship, and the means through which one can find God.
Published on 16 Jan 2006 – Last modified on 29 Mar 2011
Introduction At the heart of Islam lies belief in God. The core of the Islamic creed is bearing witness to the phrase, La illaha illa Allah, “There is no true deity deserving worship but God.” The testimony to this belief, called tawhid, is the axis around which all Islam revolves. Moreover, it is the first of the two testimonies by which a person becomes a Muslim. Striving after the realization of that oneness, or tawhid, is the core of Islamic life. For many non-Muslims, the term Allah, the Arabic name of God, refers to some distant and strange deity worshipped by the Arabs. Some even think it to be some pagan “moon-god”. However, in Arabic, the word Allah means the One True God. Even, Arabic speaking Jews and Christians refer to the Supreme Being as Allah.
Description: Why God revealed His message in the form of scriptures, and a brief description of the two of the Scriptures of God: the Bible, and the Quran.
Published on 16 Jan 2006 – Last modified on 04 Oct 2009
Justice in Heaven and Hell;
"Behold! Allah Promised you one of the two (enemy) parties, that it should be yours: Ye wished that the one unarmed should be yours, but Allah Willed to justify the Truth according to His Words and to cut off the roots of the Unbelievers; ”
—Qur'an: Al-Anfal 8:7
Enjoyed watching the Christian festival of race passing the Fire Torch from one to another.
The same is used in the openings of the Olympic games where finnaly they are to light over the bigger fire torch.this was a practice followed from the times of the Greeks.
What do we learn out of this practice ? Isn't is just as A message of true light that is to be raced passing it from one generation to the second generation in order a day will come for the truth to prevail in a bigger light of wisdom and peace.!? We are all searching for the light of truth the whole truth nothing but the truth ! We are not seeking to brain wash selves to believe what we want to believe deillusioning or selves with what we chose to want to believe.!?
We been given in the Whole heavenly scriptures including Quran stories that when are read or recited they are supposed to inspire us from it's wisdom of the old, reading those stories is like feeding our senses for knowing which becomes to be known as man's common senses.
The message that has been passed and exchanged among generations was that (God is One & Only No Mate, No Son ,No Partner and that Iblis (Satan) is the Etenal enemy of Mankind and that he has taken an ought to make stray mankind ending them into the eternal Hell fires !?
The Paths of Mankind :
The Rules been Given and laid out as to what the punishments or the rewards would be for each of our deeds,but then after all only the Mercy of God that would admit us into heavens and paradise and not only our efforts, after all, all that counts is what is in our hearts and our intentions,belief or disbelief !?
Some are lazy or as hard as Rocks or Locks and just want to bury their heads into the sand or plugging their ears and covering their eyes as from the Thunders and the Lightenings of the The Truth that One day has to prevail,whether we have wanted or tried to put the light of truth off or block it from sight or bury it alive !!!
The truth will come back to prevail with matter how ever may God wanted it to be ! By the Pen or by the Sword or by what ever God has willed it to be...it is only then upon confrontation where and when faith is tested and judged,then it is for God to decide whom to give victory over the other the unjust ones. Our Holy Book told us that over Seven Thousands Angels on top of horses were landed as an Army to join the battle fight against the transgressors, in taking side of Muslim believers who were far less in numbers and less equipped if compared to the other-side who were far more in numbers, in equipments and in supplies .!
It was that battle fight who decided the existance of Islam against the will of the polytheists and the Pagans of Mecca.
Those nights of the battle fight was named as "The Battle of Bader".
Therefore we can say winning the War is Not by The Large Well Trained Number of Armies or Number of Equipments or Higher the Technologies an Army had but it is rather more about how much faith you have in course and cause ! ?
It is more like who God will take side with? (Faith and Will) have to go togather to bring back the Good wellbeing for Mankind such as Justice,Love and Mercy as such will only bring around Peace and prosperty !?
As Good brings back around Good, then Evil only brings back around Evil, (what ever Seed we Plant We will harvest it's fruits ) so if the seed we plant is of Good seed,we will hearvest Fruits of Goodness but if of Evil seeds that has been planted then will only harvest Fruits of Evil !? The Holy Book told us that a word of kindness is like a Tree of a Good Seed that we plant and that we will hearvest ...while a bad hurting word is like a Tree of a bad seed.
Atheists.agnostics.disbelievers,pagans what ever or whom ever you are suggest to leave faith,belief or religious disputes behind and just read the Bibles and the Quran as referance for history and for wisdoms that through reading helps us to think for our selves and decide for our selves with out being told what to believe or not to believe. Have we asked our selves how mankind learnt and reached what ever level he is in now today? If it wasn't for the knowledge that was gathered and passed on from Adam's times then generation after generation to revive,remind,warn the stray against the wish and will of those condemned ones who rejected,killed and exiled the Messengers and Prophets of God, then towards each crime they have made they packed it in a different shiny papers just as of the sweet candies to explain why or for what they did it for !?
Peace2all/my regards !
90% of your doctrine is against what the Bible really teaches. Eccl.:9:5,10 is clear when it says the dead are in an unconcious state. If they know nothing at all, how could they be burning in hell? Does that sound like justice to you? To burn forever? The God of the Bible is slandered by this teaching.
The trinity doctrine is garbage, added to the Bible after it was completed. Ask yourself, Who was Jesus praying to? Himself?
No, he told his followers to pray to His Father In Heaven,,,God.
The Bible also says "The soul that is sinning, it itself will die" How could the soul be immortal?
I havent seen a single post that presents the Bible the way God does.Page887.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.