home
RSS
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. Think about it

    First point: If you commit suicide you don't go to heaven. Committing suicide is killing someone, that being yourself. Therefore, you did not obey God's commands and you will not receive the reward of heaven. Therefore, Judas is not going to heaven... Yes, he could have asked for forgiveness like Peter after betraying Jesus, but Judas did not, he killed himself. Therefore, you cannot justify him being in heaven for any reason.

    Second point: You do not go to heaven or hell until Jesus returns in the Second Coming. If you did go to heaven right after you die, then Jesus' friend Lazarus would have been taken out of heaven when Jesus raised him from the dead. (That would not be nice.) Also, Lazarus would have been rather upset about that and would have asked Jesus to kill him again so he could get out of this world and back into heaven. Plus Acts tells us that David is still in his grave and has not ascended to heaven. So if David, a man after God's own heart, did not go to heaven, what makes you think anyone else would go before him?

    The only two people we have seen go to heaven were with Jesus on the mount. Moses and Elijah were seen with Jesus, and the Bible gives us the exact times they went to heaven. One thing you should note is that they both had their BODIES with them. Elijah was taken alive in a chariot, and we are told that Michael the arch angel fought with Lucifer for Moses body. Therefore, if you don't have your body, you are ASLEEP and dead and waiting for the LAST TRUMPET to sound when the dead in Christ will rise and go to heaven.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • normmm

      I am not afraid of death.... dying has no hold on me....I will pass over and follow the leader who
      went through first 2000 years ago to show us the way through...SIMPLE AS THAT!!!

      April 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  2. Patricia A. Gllispie

    Re: Spotlight 215–along with your comments condider Why Judas wasn't given a clue about the "plan"–he may not have killed himself if he knew–anyway according to the Scriptures we are NOT supposed to take our own lives. Just consider.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  3. Dave

    I am an atheist.
    I don't believe in Heaven or Hell, God, JC or the FSM.

    Judas ended up in the same state as we all will eventually...nonexistence.
    The same state we all were before we were born.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Deneen

      @ Dave

      How do you know its a 'non existence'?

      Re:
      Dave

      I am an atheist.
      I don't believe in Heaven or Hell, God, JC or the FSM.

      Judas ended up in the same state as we all will eventually...nonexistence.
      The same state we all were before we were born."

      April 21, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  4. Santiago

    Judas is in hell because he committed suicide.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  5. SSuussaann

    Heaven and hell are human constructs, or they are what we make of our lives on Earth now. But you won't believe that so go on living your fairy tales.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  6. nimitta

    Is Judas in heaven or hell? Neither – he's dancing on the head of a pin with some angels.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  7. Chris

    Giant1 – God is an absentee landlord with a very diabolical sense of humour. Right now he is slaughtering people in the third world. Leave a message and he'll get back to you.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  8. Subhas Sarkar

    I do think that Judas was a MOLE. He was a "sleeper" for a few years and when his handlers paid him the money, he turned Jesus in. That is how rulers of states run their machinery to suppress the prophets and the leaders of the people.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  9. Tony Biancardi

    Sorry, meant to say the Rich Man (not Lazarus), was in the separated part of Hades, a place of suffering.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  10. CuzzyLINY

    First off, no one is supposed to go to Heaven. God is to bring Heaven down to Earth.

    Judas is the second most important person in the new Testament. Without his betrayal, the story fails and who knows if Jesus is crucified or not? If Jesus is supposed to die a some point further along in his life, then Judas has come in and altered God's plans. Judas was either used by God, or foiled his plans. That makes him pretty important either way. Regardless, he deserves sympathy. Oh, by the way, its just a story written and edited by men with a purpose, Its not the word of God.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  11. I, Kahn O'Clast

    Well, according to your own scriptures, I was under the impression that no one is in heaven or hell nor will be until judgment day has passed so the answer is neither.

    Of course as an atheist and a student of history I do not believe Judas ever existed.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Lycidas

      The NT does give references to the belief of a afterlife of sorts prior to judgement.

      April 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  12. Rosiepose

    There is no hell...........people make their own hell.........God is Love and God loves all his children equally and would never condemn any of them to people's perception of hell...............none of God's spiritual energy is ever lost and we are made from It...........if you think otherwise, that is what you will find when you cross over, until you WAKE UP!

    April 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I suggest your look up Job and the Prophets. Yes, God can and does allow bad things to happen. And it takes nothing away from him being who he is.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  13. archmuse

    Did Jesus make a mistake in picking Judas? Did he misjudge his character or did Jesus know Judas would betray him? If so does that mean he hastened or participated in his own death? Making a mistake is not a sin.....is it? If JC was fully divine AND fully human then he could have made a mistake.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Or that Judas had a destiny to fulfill.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  14. The Big O

    I've always found Judas to be a compelling figure in the Church. If Judas hadn't turned Jesus in would someone else have to? Without Judas would there still be a Christ? Wasn't Judas as necessary to fulfill the scripture as Jesus was? I don't know the answers but the questions are interesting to discuss.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Thank you....finally a decent and open minded comment. Judas's story and concept is an interesting one. Many have struggled through it for centuries.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  15. Jon

    here's what those "mormons" think about this: http://mormon.org/plan-of-happiness/

    April 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  16. damn

    Is Judas in heaven or hell? THIS IS THE MOST STUPID QUESTION I EVER SEEN!! anyway! ask the Easter Bunny he might have an answer for it!

    April 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Yeah...one like you would think that theological questions are dumb. Most fools don't get it.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  17. JS

    That's like saying- Is Santa Claus in the North Pole or Cleveland. FAIRY TALES!!

    April 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  18. JohnM

    Behind the subject of sin itself, hell is the second most unpleasant of biblical subjects. We are not told we must understand it, but we are given enough information that we can come to a solid belief about it. The most gracious person who ever walked the planet was Jesus Christ, and He spoke more on the subject of hell than anyone in the bible. In the story of the "Rich man and Lazarus", we are clearly told the rich man was in a place of torment (hell). It is not my moral judgement that he was/is there, we are told this. As for Judas, it appears pastor Gross has chosen a philosophical approach rather than a biblical approach to Judas. The bible tells us much more about Judas than his article lets on. Based on the biblical evidence one can safely conclude that Judas is not in heaven. That is not a moral judgement on my part that is simply going where the evidence leads. There is no evidence Judas repented. His life is a warning to those who came after him to not follow his lead and by implying otherwise is to hold a hope that even the bible does not supply.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  19. The Woof

    As I read the Bible, I believe that Judas is asleep, waiting for the Resurrection when then he will face in a Judge the very person that he betrayed. The death is refrred to as being asleep. Jesus reffered to those he resurrected as being asleep. Not in Heaven or Hell. The Second Death that is referred to in the Bible is the return to complete nothingness because if one believes that Jehovah will permit anyone to suffer for an eternity can not believe that this same God is the epitomy of Love. The best way to put this is by this analogy, you are a parent and your child does wrong. Do you punish he or she for as long as you or they live? I don't think so, so why then would you believe that a God of Love, of Truth of Justice would punish anyone for an eternity?

    April 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • __ME__

      God's justice demand a payment for sin. That payment is death, you partake in either Christ's death, or pay with your own death.

      BTW... which resurection is Judas waiting for, the first or second (betcha did even know that there are two resurections in Revelation, huh)?

      April 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Timber

      Right on, Woof. It's funny how many people think they know what the Bible says, but don't bother to actually read what it says. And "ME", the wicked are waiting for the second resurrection, the judgement before the throne, where every man is judged according to his works. Hell does not yet exist, according to the Bible, and while the Lake of Fire IS eternal, the only beings who will be there eternally are the beast, the false prophet, and Satan. That's it. Eternal torment for 20-80 years of sin on earth? That's not biblical.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • __ME__

      Rev 20:11-15, certianly say that those who come up for judgement in the second resurection at the great white throne will find them selves thrown into the lake of fire.

      Justice is what God does, God is not defined by your sense of justice.

      April 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  20. Acts 1:24,25

    Acts 1:24, 25

    24 And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen 25 to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”

    April 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Think about it

      If you commit suicide you don't go to heaven. Committing suicide is killing someone, that being yourself. Therefore, you did not obey God's commands and you will not receive the reward of heaven. Therefore, Judas is not going to heaven... Yes, he could have asked for forgiveness like Peter after betraying Jesus, but Judas did not, he killed himself. Therefore, you cannot justify him being in heaven for any reason.

      Also, you do not go to heaven or hell until Jesus returns in the Second Coming. If you did go to heaven right after you die, then Jesus' friend Lazarus would have been taken out of heaven when Jesus raised him from the dead. (That would not be nice.) Also, Lazarus would have been rather upset about that and would have asked Jesus to kill him again so he could get out of this world and back into heaven. Plus Acts tells us that David is still in his grave and has not ascended to heaven. So if David, a man after God's own heart, did not go to heaven, what makes you think anyone else would go before him?

      The only two people we have seen go to heaven were with Jesus on the mount. Moses and Elijah were seen with Jesus, and the Bible gives us the exact times they went to heaven. One thing you should note is that they both had their BODIES with them. Elijah was taken alive in a chariot, and we are told that Michael the arch angel fought with Lucifer for Moses body. Therefore, if you don't have your body, you are ASLEEP and dead and waiting for the LAST TRUMPET to sound when the dead in Christ will rise and go to heaven.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • tommy94781

      wasn't it Thomas who denied Jesus 3 ?

      April 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Think about it- Keep in mind that there are 2 accounts of Judas's death. One was not suicide.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
Advertisement
About this blog

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.