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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. goat

    I thought he was living with Lady GaGa?

    April 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • WMesser58

      @goat so what you are basicly saying he's in "HELL"

      April 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  2. Don

    Is this CNN or TBN? There is no such thing as heaven OR hell! Jesus was NOT the son of some god (and in all likelyhood didn't even exist). Snakes don't talk. 100 year old men don't build boats that can hold EVERY SPECIES of animal, much less figure out how to get them together and survive a flood that couldn't POSSIBLY happen.

    I guess the people of Texas are all evil sinners since god is burning their crap down!

    Quit believing fairy tales written 2000 years ago by illiterate sheep herders.

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

      How could they write if they were 'illiterate'? Jesus Christ is God. You just have to come to terms with it. The sooner the better.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • WMesser58

      @Don you are my new hero. Well Said.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  3. Gezus

    Perhaps Judas was selected as the one most trusted to preform destiny's call to martyr Jesus. By all outward appearances it would look like a sell out. Could be that the writer wasn't privy to know of any pre-arrangement as it was billed and set up in the last supper. Jesus wept. He knew the wheels had to be put in motion. If Judas was treasurer, what better motive than money?

    I hate to think in some way that of some errors that were penned into the cannon, this one could be terribly incorrect. History is preserved by the writer, ignorant, deceptive, forthright or not.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  4. WMesser58

    First off the answer is simple if Judah even existed he's dead and in the ground. There's nothing to support any of this fair tale of Jesus but, people who want to manipulate people in to servitude and nothing more.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  5. s

    do people continue to sin, because they know that they will be forgiven?

    April 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  6. Satan

    Of course Judas is in Hell, but then again so is everyone else.

    That trickster god and his hidden 11th commandment... that one always gets everyone...

    April 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  7. Patrick

    Or was Judas the Severus Snape to Christ? Known that He was destined to die, He needed his trusted friend to ensure it happened according to prophecy. History is written by the survivors. Any Priyath has it partly right – however, it was not the crucifiction that was important, it was the resurrection!

    April 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  8. wimsy

    The last Pope said there is no Hell, just an exclusion from sitting next to god. Since I don't care to sit next to a god who orders me to love him or suffer eternal damnation (much like a psychopathic stepfather), I'm all set on the Hell trip.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Fool

      have fun donkey!

      April 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  9. heidi

    I think people need to remember that the Bible's account is not fact. It was created from 4 gospels out of hundreds of gospels written over an extremely long time after Jesus' death. Each is an individuals own take on events and not even the 4 gospels agree with each other on events. Besides has anyone ever noticed that Judas becomes more demonized by each gospel as time progresses, in the beginning he was not made out to be truly evil.
    Lets assume Judas and Jesus did exist and traveled together, along with the others, I cant believe that if God is as good and loving as Jesus said that he would allow his friend to be in hell forever if at all. If people truly believe the Bible then they accept God is Omnipotent, thus he designed Judas to do as he did and it was no great sin. Perhaps Judas was asked by Jesus to do as he did for the ultimate good and through love did "betray" Jesus and commited suicide to be with him. The point is it is all based on each gospels imagining of the situation, it wasn't a diary of events, but written long after.
    Truthfully, I don't buy the story of Judas one bit. The Christians had to distance themselves from the Jews in order to survive, not to mention the animosity between the two. Judas' name or character is a scapegoat.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  10. Cecelia

    What is all this talk about, "What if there is no Hell?" The Bible clearly states the existence of Hell as well as Heaven. To state the other is accepting one's wandering of uncertain mind. It becomes detrimental to accept the lose floating ideas without theological basis. The problem is that there are pastors promoting these ideas of "no Hell". They are to lead and teach the congregation of the right path. By introducing such ideas of "no Hell", one dilutes and moreover alters the nature and belief of Christianity... and no longer becomes Christianity. It becomes a cult. The teachers are to be careful of what they teach for they will be judged more severely. Make sure to teach what is laid out in the scripture and not your personal opinion (which can change so readily). Hell exist and so does Heaven. Waiting to see if it is true or not might be too late.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • bird

      Cecelia you do know that God did not write the bible right? It was written by people, with all their fears, prejudices, insecurities and failings. It is no more the word of God, than a soup label is.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  11. Shamrock6

    I am the smartest person in the world. We were created by aliens. They are our 'gods'. Back to the salt mines you philistines.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  12. jaroslavmro

    If Judas wouldn't betray Jesus there wouldn't be no resurection, no easter. I think people wouldn't remember Jesus.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  13. John AM

    I think the more interesting question is not whether Judas is in Hell or Heaven, but if Judas instead of committing suicide had gone to the foot of the cross and asked Jesus to forgive him, would Jesus have forgiven Judas? Would the other apostles have forgiven Judas, if Jesus had?

    April 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Finger Puppet

      Will you PLEASE stop making this complicated. This is SUPPOSED to be simple minded. My blood pressure goes up when I have to start thinking about complications like that. If I stroke out, it's gonna be all YOUR fault.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Juanito

      I'm thinking along the same line. No one else can judge our souls but God. A better article would be whether Judas couldv'e been forgiven. Personally, if we are to believe that Christ's death was to make way for our redemption, I am compelled to believe that Christ would have forgiven Judas if he would have asked. But think about the crushing guilt that he had felt for physically handing over the Son of God.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • elton

      God's plan begins in Genesis and ends in Revaltions. For his plans to be carried out there had to be people involved to carry out the plan. I believe Judas could have ask for forgiveness and gone to Heaven. His regret may have saved his soul but only God knows. As God works out his plan more people will be a part of the plan...like whoever the anti-Christ turns out to be. Some think it may be our President, but if not it will be someone else because what is said has to happen.

      April 21, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  14. Richk

    I think Barney the Dinosaur runs hell at the moment. I have a call in to him and will let you know what he says...

    April 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  15. Waves

    I think the atoms that made up Judas' body were recycled and is still a part of this earth. That is IF Judas actually existed as well as Jesus.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  16. Jay Park

    it is true how God only knows. no doubt about that. but i think Judas would be in hell for killing himself. that is the only thing that we have true control over our lives; is to live. i heard many times before that if you kill yourself you go to hell because you are playing gods game and you are cutting yourself short of his plan.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Yeah... but...

      But if we are interfering with God's plan by killing one's self, what if that was God's plan? To end it now for you. Is that any different then God sending a bus to hit you while you cross the street?

      April 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • BR

      People who take their own life are disturbed, depressed, at the end of their rope, desperate, etc. In other words, not in their right mind. That's punishable by eternal torment? Only the monster of the OT and NT could come up with that logic.

      Some benevolence.

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

      People that take their own lives can't possibly be in a sound state of mind. I want to believe that God will forgive those poor souls that are that desperate. The last thing I want to do is judge others.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  17. What do Easter eggs have to do with Easter ?

    If Jesus Christ died for my sins,
    How is it that i am born with Sin ????
    The first thing i did when i popped out of my Mom
    was take a breath
    but i am a sinner ??

    Nice scam.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Jay Park

      those sinners that were born in to sin had children. those children had children. and so on and so on until it came to our generation and so forth. its like genetics. it will be passed down. tainted blood leads to tainted blood no matter the concentration.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Patrick

      Easy – they help sell sugar.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Isn't punishing children for the crimes of their parents immoral?

      April 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  18. STLBroker

    http://www.jesuscompanion.com

    April 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  19. sealchan

    I actually disagree with the Gross in the sense that this question that he poses IS a mirror for us to look into...it may be that Judas has been judged unfairly. If we answer this question with quick certainty then there is cause to look deeper at our reasons for such a quick response. For me the answer to the sin of quick judging is to then engage in conversation or research with the question, spend some time with it, learn, try to remove an ignorance or two and then ask yourself again, have I judged too quickly?

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

      I completely agree but will all of us take the opportunity to look in the mirror put in front of us by the posing of that question? He's reminding us to look in that mirror instead of focusing on the sins & ultimate fate of others.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  20. JK

    How can a man who helped Jesus fulfill God's will be in hell? Jesus himself said, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:38-40

    He needed to do this. Judas was just the catalyst.

    April 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      You suffer from a disease: perverted logic.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Thomas Anderson

      Or Judas is neither because there is no heaven or hell cause God doesn't exist....

      April 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • matt

      Wait really? I thought CNN did news not fairy tales....

      April 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • True Believer

      To most Christians, logic is an enemy and the work of Satan. Jesus asked, in fact insisted, that Judas betray him. This was all done according to God's plan for Jesus. Jesus was just a man, a mortal man chosen by God to fulfill a purpose and Judas was essential in seeing that plan through. When Jesus died, he joined the celestial consciousness the same as any of us will, including Judas. To believe Jesus to be divine or any closer to God than you or I is an insult to God and the things Jesus did. Do not believe the lies the Catholic Church has perpetrated on you over 2000 years. See the truth now or die believing a lie and become a fool in heaven. Jesus was a man and his message that you and I can be just as close to God has been shat upon by the Church. Burn down the Vatican and lay waste to 2000 years of lies and manipulation.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:40 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.