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My Take: Is Judas in heaven or hell? God only knows
April 21st, 2011
12:01 AM ET

My Take: Is Judas in heaven or hell? God only knows

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.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Opinion

soundoff (2,323 Responses)
  1. curien

    they created their mythologies and enjoyed them (biblical timez)
    we created our trilogies & so we enjoy 'em (hollywood timez)
    you can't prove or disprove a god, coz we are it! Know ye not that thou art godz!
    believe what you may, coz your fact is only as good as your belief
    enjoy life, live free, die hard! (epistemological timez)

    April 21, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  2. LP

    Jesus said that Judas had left them because he was not part of them. He was not the elect. He served a purpose. While you may not like theology, correct theology is important. All the God wrote in His Word is important. We are to study to show ourselves approved, workmen rightly dividing the Word of God.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  3. What do Easter eggs have to do with Easter ?

    Judas had a part to play in a fiction story.
    He played his part well.
    Time to retire this book.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Larry

      You are such a simpleton. The egg illustartes the Trinity. The three individual parts make up the whole.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  4. Duh

    He has my favorite musical numbers in Jesus Christ Superstar. Other than that show, the only other time I saw him was after a Neil Simon show in the shopping district, he smelled of gin and kept talking about his ex wife.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  5. A-duh?

    wouldnt he be in the in betweem, b/c he died before jesus did? where do u think moses is? or anyone that lived before jesus? before jesus died there was only god up there. read your bible, dont just take random passages out and try to debate [not towards the author, but towards the commentators].
    and to you that 'hate' religion, try reading a bible first before you try to mock the way i chose to live my life.
    i dont mock you and your bigotry to do i?
    bless all those who are so blind...

    April 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • What do Easter eggs have to do with Easter ?

      Duh.............

      I dont hate religion, i just see it for what it is.
      A book put together to control the masses.

      Dont forget your easter egg & chocolate bunny.

      April 21, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  6. Sara

    i'll tell you where judas is: in the imaginations of brianwashed idiots who, for some reason, believe in a collection of stories bordering on retardation. yeah, you can fit all the animals in the world on one boat. it's also possible to walk on water and all that too. wait how come no "miracles" happen today? because they never happened in the first place. jesus, judas, god = all fabricated lies. i pity you all
    ~Logic

    April 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  7. Sherry G

    Wow alot of commesnts by people who claim they don't believe. Judas is in Hell, not due to the fact that he betrayed Jesus, but due to the fact that he took his own life. Judas couldn't live with the fact he betrayed Jesus,knowing Jesus truly is the son of God. The Bible states it is sin to take your own life, and no sin can enter into Heaven. Those that say they don't want to go to Heaven because he is an unfair God, couldn't be more contrary to the truth. He is giving you every opportunity to come to Him, but we reject him. Just like in life there are consequences to our actions sometimes, there is a consequence for not obeying God. I pray that you listen to Him when He speaks to your heart, I know you can hear Him.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • A-duh?

      so if you killed your whole family in a car accident, fully your fault. and you decided to end your life b/c u couldnt handle it, youd go to hell? [im asking on behalf of myself, a believer of christ]
      i must of missed that part of the bible...

      April 21, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • What do Easter eggs have to do with Easter ?

      Whoa Sherry..........

      If i kill somebody, but repent, i can go to heaven.
      But if i kill myself i cant.
      No thanks, i will pass on this garbage.

      April 21, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Sherry G

      Intentionally taking someones life is a sin...pick up the Bible and read it sometime you might actually learn.

      April 21, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  8. Really?

    When the article reads "The facts are the facts" I wonder.. Really? Where are the facts. If the "facts" are part of a believer's repertoire of truth, then so be it, facts are facts, but for many, the facts must have some kind of material representation, and the Bible itself does not help everybody (albeit many do believe) see that what it is said in the Bible are facts. Otherwise all the church goers would not have trouble at all in recruiting new members and keeping them in the church, because the facts would be "there". Reading an article like this one can only help to reinterpret (read under the lines) what the author might be trying to say, just as a reinterpretation of the Bible is constantly needed because many times the information offered in the Bible does not adjust to our times.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  9. noah

    Sure, just pick out whatever parts you want and interpret them however makes you feel good, and, on top of that, chastise people that know Jesus is in the 9th ring of hell based on passages from the same religious texts you cherry-picked. Great content, CNN.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  10. Rick Brewster

    It's funny how the author is quoting stories from scripture and analyzing all of their little details. You do realize that the Bible is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a mistranslated copy of a copy of a mistranslated copy of an edited copy of a copy of an edited copy, etc.? For all we know, the original books of the Bible started out as Winnie The Pooh.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  11. mrgup2

    maybe consider this...

    Judas- Realized his sin. What of his repentance? Did he turn from it and toward God's grace, or not? His actions were at some level a measure of his faith and belief in the merciful and forgiving nature of God to his children who repent.

    Peter- Realized his sin. What of his repentance? Did he turn from it and toward God's grace? Did Peter understand the forgiving nature of God towards his children? Was his belief in the mercy of God evident in Peter's life? Judas?

    April 21, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  12. Scott Sempier

    Mark 14:21 says, "For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."
    Plain and simple. Judas is in Hell. Jesus said so Himself.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • What do Easter eggs have to do with Easter ?

      wow Scott, you heard Jesus say that ?
      What lanquage did he say it in ?
      What was he wearing ?

      Scott how did you live to be so old ?
      Whats your secret ?

      Or did you read it in your fictional book ?

      April 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  13. Michael

    @Chris. I agree with you, the sin that is unforgivable is a sin against the Holy Sprit, I actuality read it in the bible old testament. Catholic bible if any one whats to look it up...

    April 21, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  14. bp

    Judas is worm food like everyone else

    April 21, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  15. max86234

    this is why i hate cnn

    April 21, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  16. vel

    The bible is anything but clear. We have a god that must have his son/himself killed to satisfy the rules he set up in the first place. Would we all be damned if people did a good thing and rescued JC? Seems so; JC needs to be killed an a painful and primitive manner. And the gospel of "luke" says that Satan entered into Judas and made him betray JC. So, is god working with Satan? Seems so to get that killing done and it goes with the story in Revelation where God intentionally releases Satan to corrupt good people *after* all evil people are killed and JC rules for a millenium. God sure does seem to need evil constantly. How does that work with being that is supposedly all-good? Again, god is shown to be myth and sheer nonsense.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  17. EVENTHORIZON

    Or you could understand that, just like Jesus, Judas is in neither Heaven or Hell. These people and places simply have not and do not exist.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  18. Sara

    "We all fall short and deserve death"...as a NON-religious person this comment is VERY disturbing! It amazes me how humans subscribe to this twisted, barbaric, out-dated set of beliefs.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • vel

      Agreed. It is disgusting that so many theists have to say that humans *all* deserve death and evidently as painful ones as possible considering the sadistic fantasies about the "flood" and in Revelation. Of course, they dont' mean all, just those people who dare to disagree with them. They think they have the magic key to "salvation". And this allows theists to decide that they can murder others with no problem, since shucks, God wants them dead anyway. 😛

      April 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Larry

      Sara, Do you deserve to go to Heaven?

      April 21, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  19. Quentin

    Christ! Is every [Insert Religious Standing including Atheist] a pretecious idiot, or am I reading you guys wrong? Seriously, the comments aren't going to convince any of the idiots on either side.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Larry

      Quentin, You are a moron.

      April 21, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  20. G5robo

    Have you seen the price of an ounce of silver these days? Judas was saving for retirement.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Keeler

      His message can be an overall a good one. But his statement "In terms of experience with Jesus, whatever you can say about Peter, James and John, you can say about Judas" is not true. For example, only Peter, James, and John were present at the Transfiguration of Jesus, which was one of the most important events in the new Testament and in Christianity. While I commend Craig for his intentions, pop culture Christianity like this, particuarly when one puts himself out there as a leader of a church (which implies expertise), can lead the flock astray from the Truth (even with the best intentions) if not done with the utmost humility.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
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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.