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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. Sam

    "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."

    Sounds like you come from a place where they believe in Once saved always saved theology...If Ananias died because of greed, then chances are Judas is in the same boat.....Remember that Jesus said if you sin against the holy spirit its is not forgiven in this age nor in the age to come

    April 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Kate

      I love how he proclaims "facts are facts." Really? The bible is fact? *uber facepalm*

      April 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  2. Angie

    Judas is just human. God is the only one that judge that opinion really matter.
    Also Happy Ester!=)

    April 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  3. Joan

    The name Judas (Judah, Judith etc) means Jew. Judas was allegorical. And, like 'Hell', he never existed.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  4. Motrek

    There's the lake of burning sulfur, and there is "hades" which is the holding place of the dead. Those who have their names written in the book of life were released from hades when Christ ascended to heaven. Those who don't are still in hades awaiting final judgment which will result in their being cast into the lake of burning sulfur. Confusion comes because a lot of bible translations use the same word "hell" for those two completely different locations. No one has been cast into the lake of burning sulfur yet.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Kate

      Sulfur does WONDERS for acne. Just sayin'. 🙂

      April 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  5. Maryann

    How pointless is this article? He asks the question in the headline, and in the piece he says this:

    "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."

    Holy crap, why the HELL did you even ask the question???? So that people could waste their time?

    So stupid – there is no 'HELL' – other than reading this article.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  6. LogicwillSaveUS

    Judas isn't in Heaven or Hell. He's not in either one because they don't exist. He's a figment of someone's imagination, just like Jesus and the rest of the made up stories in the bible.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  7. Abishai

    As was already indicated by another poster, according to the Bible, Judas is neither in heaven nor hell at the moment, nor is he in Hades where all the dead are kept until the time of judgement as detailed in Luke 16. The idea of the dead going to heaven or hell for eternity right after they die is an almost universally believed fallacy perpetuated mainly by professional "pastors" like the initiator of this discussion. According to Act 1:26, he went to "his own place", which I believe indicates that God dealt with him in a way similar to how he dealt with Moses, and that both Judas and Moses are being kept for a special purpose. I t could be that Judas will be the false prophet foretold in Revelation.
    That said, no, I believe it is safe to say that Judas will certainly not share the same reward as those who believe into Jesus Christ. John 13:2 shows that Judas' betrayal was a result of his union with Satan. More importantly, he is referred to elsewhere as the "Son of Perdition" (John 17:13). I think that only pretty much precludes any possibility of him enjoying the eternally presence of Christ in eternity future. Mr. Pastor, for the sake of your 'flock' (which is actually the Lord's), please read your Bible, study the word, and pursue Christ Himself, rather than fruitless and vain questionings. And do feel free to "unfriend" me if you like.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  8. Clyde

    If Judas is in hell really? really? Be aware of liberal pastors, I agree with the fact we don't know where people end up only God knows our hearts but Judas is one we don't have to wonder when Jesus says "Better you had never been born" then your in hell. As for those who do not believe if there is a heaven or hell why don't you ask God to show it to you and I mean ask him don't be cavilar about it, and here's the must important part expect an answer.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Kate

      "LIberal" pastor? lol Honey. No such thing. We Liberals are too intelligent to buy into the myth. 🙂

      April 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  9. Amber

    Neither. There is no such thing. next subject...

    April 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  10. TheHellYouSay

    I'm not understanding the people that complain about articles like this. If you think articles like this are stupid and religion is poison then don't read it and don't make nasty comments.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  11. Kate

    HAHAHA Anyone notice that, in the illustrative picture above, Juda's nose is hooked, while Jesus has a perfectly patrician proboscis? Not TOO obvious.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Rincon Surfer Dude

      I DID notice that. Good eye. Interesting.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  12. Debbie

    My opinion is he is in Hell, not because of the betrayal but because he committed murder (suicide) and of course his last moment was a sin which he was never able to repent for or ask for forgiveness from God. I'm sure some will agree and several will bash my comment.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Compared with the betrayal, the suicide of Judas was a flea.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  13. trulyblessed

    Jesus died and went to Hell for 3 days and preached the gospel....Judas I believe was the most remorsful of all the dicisples and therefore hung himself...we have ALL sinned against Jesus, do you feel bad enough to kill yourself?? didn't think so!!! I believe that Judas is in heaven...because God also said you will be surprised who you will see there, and I believe he's one of those surprises. If Judas can't be saved by Jesus blood than non of us can!! It's by HIS GRACE ALONE that we are saved, not because we do good deeds or speak kind words,,,,our good works are like filty rags to Him so stop the show boating and judging because for all you know you could end where Judas 1st did...but unlike Judas, Jesus is not going back their to save you!! I thank judas for his role and all the other disiciples....goes to show the GLORY of God and that Jesus blood is payment enough..they only thing God said He would not forgive is blasphamy against the Holy Spirit...He NEVER said that He would not forgive the one who betrayed the Son of Man.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  14. stonedwhitetrash

    In my most humble opinion there was no more a Judas than there is a n easter bunny. And please stop whining about poor jesus being betrayed was he so insignificant that the Romans had to bribe someone.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • trulyblessed

      I feel sorry for you...but if you're not a believer than don't comment!!! because your opinion is irrevelant.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  15. johngei

    Neither we dont die we just move on ! eye see u

    April 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  16. Green Blue

    The key word is 'repentance.' What is believe in Jesus as the Christ? Can it be without repentance? What does it mean by 'Faith without works is dead?' What is it that John said in his first letter, 'one born of God cannot sin?'

    April 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  17. Lassie

    Anyone else think the author looks like Juda? I'm not saying.. I'm just sayin. I really enjoyed this article. Great message for Easter.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  18. Anne Chovey

    saying that "you don't know", is the most fair interpretation a person could make. Anyone who says they know, is lying.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Den

      I'd even go further than that – anyone who says he or she knows, is either lying or ignorant. It's either a conscious manipulation of what we can know from the biblical text, or it's a misunderstanding and extrapolation that isn't warranted. Either way, the person who "knows" is just as fallible as all the rest of us who either don't "know" or don't care.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • OdysseusV

      The scriptures make note in John, that Judas began stealing the monies set aside as he was the carrier of the money box, from an earlier point. So he was a thief! Then he turned from bad to worse, by seeking to betray Christ for more money. As with sin when the desire has become fertile it gives birth to sin and in turn when accomplished brings forth death! Jesus states that it would have been better if that one had not been born, that is Judas the betrayer. So at least we know that he died. So the act of dying puts one in Sheol or Death which later translators derived the word Hell for. So yes he is in Sheol or King James Version " Hell ", but this Hell is not a place of torment run by God's chief adversary Satan as some mistakenly say, Hell is nothing more than the grave of mankind, the state of being in death. All who die go to hell. The appropriate question in this discussion should have been is Judas in Gehenna. Gehenna Is the state of everlasting destruction or eternal death or darkness. Anyone thrown over the wall of Jerusalem into the Valley of Hinnom, "Gehenna " was a criminal or someone not deemed worthy of a decent burial therefore Jesus illustration of being better than being pitched into Gehenna. So one could infer that since Judas committed a sin not worthy of a decent burial he may very well be not in line for a resurrection from the the dead. But he is not in a place of torment since Solomon says the dead are not conscious of anything at all ECC: 9:5. So even if anyone was in Hell he'd be just like Christ was when he was in Hell for 3 days , asleep in death awaiting a resurrection!! by God!! So really the big question is , Is Judas worthy of a resurrection, That's God's call !

      April 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  19. oneSTARman

    JUDAS is in HISTORY – Jesus taught that he was the WAY to Eternal Life – Here and Now Eternally – and by following his Way to become in close communion with The Father whom the Christ said was within him and he in the Father. "What commandment is the foremost of all?" Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; or to paraphrase There is No God But God'

    April 21, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • trulyblessed

      ????

      April 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • richunix

      Which one, we have so many to choose from?

      I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      April 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • oneSTARman

      It does not Matter whether you cannot accept what those who understand the quantum requirement for consciousness to give specificity to particulate existence that would otherwise remain only probability. There is ONLY one God – regardless of the Names Humans give to their understanding of the Multiverse – limited by 3 dimensions of space and locked into a unidirectional vector of time.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • David H.

      In 3 of the 4 gospels, when Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment and the way to eternal life he replied that it is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and body. He also noted that this is the Divine law and the message fo the prophets. And, indeed, if one really loves God, all else will follow – righteousness, the love of neighbor, peace, joy, all the virtues, For in loving God we are loving all righteousness. Of all the Bible's words, of all the sermons preached, the message "to love God" is all that is needed.

      David H.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • oneSTARman

      @DavidH – the Gospels all agree on the the existential necessity of the response to the Message that appears in Mark – the Original Gospel – that echoes the Truth revealed to Abraham and to the Pharaoh that Realized the Righteousness of the One God that He made Egypt worship until killed and replaced by the boy 'Tut'

      April 21, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  20. Rainer Braendlein

    This is perverted logic.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • write

      Maybe you should go back and read the Bible if you think Judas is a genuine believer....
      John 6:64
      But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)
      John 6:70-71
      Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • oneSTARman

      There is a Great Deal of less than perfect understanding of the Witness of people we do not really understand or whose ideas have been changed over Time: The Two "Thieves' crucified with Christ would be called 'terrorist' Today – which is why they and He were so Dangerous to the Romans who feared Insurrection (Think Palestinians Throwing rocks at Tanks)

      April 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Harleyman

      I agree that the author of this logic needs to do a bit more research. First of all, Judas Iscariot was a Professor of Christ,. not a Possessor of Christ. Just because he saw the Miracles did not make him a believer in Jesus as His Savior and Messiah. Secondly, Jesus said this of Judas in Matt. Chpt. 26 verse 24 "The son of Man goeth as is written of him but, woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had never been born". In John Chpt. 17, verse 12, Jesus was praying and He said this "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in my name, those that thou savest me, I have kept and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled." Perdition means "lost one". Judas was lost by his own volition but, his behavior was a fulfillment of Divine prophecy. Psalms 41 vs 9 which says "yes mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did ear of my bread, hath lifted up his heal against me".
      In John Chapt. 6 verse 70-71 "Jesus answered then: "Have I not chosen you twelve and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. Notice Jesus said "one of you IS A DEVIL. He didn't say "one of you was a devil". Judas is a perfect example of a lot of modern day professing Christians. They profess salvation but, do not possess it! They go to church, set in the pews, donate to the church and charities, do good things, but, they are not saved. The scriptures also say that "by their fruits, ye shall know them". Judas was a man of greed, jealousy, and had an inner contempt of Jesus otherwise, he would not have betrayed him. Another scripture we can also look at is Acts 1 verses 16 through 25. For the saving of space I will only include vs 25, "that he ( the one chosen to take Judas place), may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place". If Judas went to Heaven, then why were these things said of him,, not only be Jesus Himself, but by the other apostles who were with him. What could have been worse that Jesus saying "woe unto the man who betrays me, it would have been better for him not to be born if this man was going to spend eternity in Heaven.
      I am sorry but, I believe that Judas was an unbeliever, a devil as Jesus called him and I believe he is in Hell today.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:12 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.