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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. galileo

    U all lack of knowledge... read the bible more...may God have mercy.. as towaRDS judas .remember it supposed to happen that way God had a plan, unfornately for judas the devil used him by money that's how satan first tempted judas... but then he committed suicide..he had a chance to repent

    April 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  2. MICHAEL WHITE

    Of course, Muslims would look at this and say that Jesus is not a savior, nor the son of God but a prophet. They would say that Jesus dying on the cross was not the reason people can be saved. Muslims would say that Prophet Muhammad's word and the Koran are the reasons people can be saved.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  3. Kevin

    wow, a lot of comments

    April 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  4. Tao of Jester

    He is in Hell. He committed suicide. Betraying Jesus could have been forgiven and was necessary for Jesus to die for all of our sins anyways.

    There is no argument to be made for him being in Heaven. If you actually know anything about the Bible.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  5. Easter Bunny

    "It's true that the Son of Man is going down a path already marked out." Would this not mean that Judas was fated to betray Jesus? If the events were meant to happen, Judas would then be the biggest martyr. He was made to commit the betrayal by a predestined series of events so that Jesus could save us. The cost to him would have been his eternal soul in hell.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Sam

      How did Jesus dieing on a cross save you ?

      April 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  6. Firstpin

    Since there is neither heaven nor hell, the whole story is moot.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  7. enricorosan

    Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray him and he told him so. Jesus is the one who betrayed Judas by letting him proceed with his plan. Also, I submit to you that Jesus himself was as traitorous as his father namely : God . God being Alpha and Omega (as described in the Bible) knew the beginning and the end yet he concocted this asinine plan of saving humanity by creating a treasonous double crossing angel (Lucifer) and letting him cross the perimeter of Eden to trick Adam and Even into sin and thus their descendants would then require a so called redeemer to save. God the treasonous deity also created Hell to punish the imperfect beings that he himself created. How can a perfect being God create imperfections ?? So, the imperfect father God procreated an imperfect treasonous son who is supposed to save us (the imperfect beings) from sin. I say : Judas should be in heaven right now because he suffered too much and it is not his fault and instead God should go to hell to join his conniving son who was created in his father's traitorous, deceiving and sinful image.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  8. John J.

    You start with a tenuous starting point. How do you know there is a heaven or a hell?

    April 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  9. Andrew

    We shouldn't speculate on where Judas is, but Peter repented after denying Christ, Judas despaired and killed himself.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  10. Southern Christian

    The ONLY way to heaven is through the acceptance that you are a sinner and that Jesus has paid the price (death) of your sin. This I know by my faith in the Holy Word of God. If Judas accepted Jesus as his savior he is in heaven. It is difficult for me to believe one could have that acceptance and sell Jesus out. But then I have many questions for Jesus when I see Him.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Sam

      The only way through Heaven is taking responsibility for your own actions and doing more good than bad . No one died to give you a green light to commit sins and repent once a week and get a clean slate. Formula to go to heaven is simple. Be good. do Good. Dont hurt anyone else.

      Jesus was a prophet of god. A great person. Very noble sent on earth to teach the word of god. Dont use his death as a reason to believe he died for your sins. Believe in him his teaching God and do what he said. Just belief is not enough. There has to be action.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  11. Welington

    Acredito que judas está no céu agora... Eu acredito no plano criado por Deus, tudo que aconteceu foi para o fortalecimento de sua palavra na terra, se judas nao tivesse traido Jesus, e se ele não tivesse sido crucificado, a história do filho de Deus nao se propagaria da maneira que é hoje. Se Jesus tivesse morrido de morte natural ele seria apenas mais um Nostradamus

    April 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  12. boyamidumb

    Aw come on folks, let's spend our time talking about something that matters. Too many new ways to communicate utter nonsense to a broader audience.

    Methinks it be time for Arma and his Geton boys to take center stage. Clean it ups and let's try again. Won't be the first time.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  13. Carl LaFong

    Just watch out when someone says "It says in the Bible . . . " What follows is usually something discriminatory against a segment of humanity.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  14. JJ

    If you people spent half the effort you spend on cr@p like this on improving the lives of those not so lucky as you, the world would be a much better place to live. Religion is the abomination of our species. Thank goodness Darwin is doing an excellent job of helping us get rid of it, little by little. There is hope yet for our kid. And remember that freedom of relgion also means freedom FROM religion.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  15. Carl

    I agree with Craig in that we'll never know the status of Judas in the after life. In defense of Judas, I 'm of the opinion disappoint ment with Jesus not challenging the authorities in a more aggressive manner lead Judas to commit his betrayal. Judas's betrayal is still carried out by me and other sinners on a daily basis when we think God should act more like us as opposed to us acting more like God. I'm glad God gives me do overs.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  16. lavelle

    the orginal hebrew meaning of the word hell is grave, they are used enterchangeable throughout the bible, when we died, we all go to hell (the grave), or means covered up (the grave), no one is in heaven but God, Jesus, and the angels, we will not go to heaven when we die, thats God's throne, we on the resurection day of judgement, we all will rise from the Grave (Hell) and then be judged, not before that time, at death, we are all in a unconsious state of no knowledge, no feelings, no nothing till the resurection day of judgement, so the question of heaven and hell is not even relevant at all...go do your homework on Death and Hell and then it all make sense. that why the bible says all the prophets of old goes to the same place as the idoltaries when they die, (Hell, the grave)..until that great day, those saved will live again in immotoral bodies and those aint saved will experience the second DEATH, remember bible say all sins lead to DEATH, death is the final end to all.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • lavelle

      the saved reward is our immortal bodies and new earth....unsaved will experience the second death....

      April 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  17. Jason

    This story is THE best article I've ever read on CNN. Thank you so much for this story and please keep them coming!

    April 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  18. Jim

    Heaven – he was chosen to be the one who gave up Jesus. And Jesus died for all our sins. Those posters commenting on how this is a fairy tale are missing out on the reality of peace of mind that comes with giving yourself over to the glory of God. As much as you want to speak out against religion, that is the effort you should spend on truly considering your place in Gods world. Trust us – it's much nicer to understand the great gift than to contrive arguments to support a position that you will regret more than any of us. Got peace of mind?

    April 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • tommas

      You can also get peace of mind by giving yourself to a morphine addiction.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Sam

      Everyone is responsible for their own deeds. No one dies for anyone elses Sin. if you commit a Sin you way. If you commit a good deed you reap. Take responsibility of your own actions.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  19. Daniel Piatchek

    The Christ-Consciousness (the Mind of God) is within every atom in the Universe since it began. Jesus completely manifested the Christ-Consciousness and told us we could do the same as He. It is within you. Bite your finger and you are biting God, so don't bite so hard. Judas, as we all are, is forgiven and loved by God, but because of Universal Karmic Law, Judas had to work through many incarnations to be accepted into what some might call "heaven".

    April 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • richunix

      and was your deity name again?

      “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 1:47 pm |
    • Wayshower

      Very well said Daniel. I made a similar post earlier about all of us being "Cells of God" and how I believe that everyone has a "spark of God" at their inner core.

      And RichUnix, you asked me the same question on my post, and once again I answer you with "Compassion towards all" that is the true Gods name, as we are all a spark God within.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  20. Scarlet Falcon

    Simple,
    Because Thomas repented and seeked Forgivness but the Judas did not not and that shows how much he understood being a disciple of Jesus.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Tim Toddle

      Hell, saw him there yesterday

      April 21, 2011 at 1:52 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.