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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. Upon this rock

    Dear friends,
    Judas nor any other human is in hell (literal hell) no human is in Heaven(literal final Heaven) at death the body returns to "dust" in the earth, the spirit goes to a resting place (heavenly for believers) , (without the prescence of God) for non
    believers. No one will go to either place for at least 1,000 years, that's when the Great White Throne Judgement takes place.
    A lot happens in between but much Bible study needs to be done to find out. Again no one goes to the final Hell or Heaven
    for at least one thousand years but you only have THIS LIFE

    April 21, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      UTR: See you in the rapture capsule with the unicorns. Don't forget to wear your nose ring.

      April 21, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      UTR, according to the Scriptures, you are in error. You have the Scriptures, so read it for yourself!

      April 21, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Up your, you are a brute. Even the name you chose is a disgrace!

      April 21, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      burn for a billion billion years you filthy sinners (and there is no going insane --ha ha haaaaah)

      April 22, 2011 at 1:29 am |
  2. DE

    Judas is a skeleton in the ground.

    April 21, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  3. brian

    Why do you Christians believe all this illogical nonsense about gods, eternity, afterlife, sin, salvation, etc? It's about as plausible as a story about Zeus granting everlasting life to Athena or something. I just can't believe anybody seriously believes these fictional tales written by Early Man.

    April 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  4. peter

    you know whats arrogant, people of each religion thinking their religion is the one true religion and nobody knows anything about it yet they firmly believe it which is not a good reason for doing so. I think Jesus is in hell for spreading bs and committing acts of lunacy by saying he was the son of god. The balls on this guy to say claim that distinction as being god's only son in the entire existence of this great earth. if jesus lived during the 1690s in salem he would have been burned at the stake and long forgotten. He was around at a time when the belief of greek/roman gods was fading and it was a good time to spread a new word about god in a different religion. Now for me personally i believe in god strictly based on the fact that the universe just existing makes less sense then god does so therefore i believe in god but anything after believing in god, ie: religion and the nonsense involved with religion and its prophets i am strongly against

    April 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
  5. brian

    Judas was awesome. I think their best song was "Delivering the Goods".

    April 21, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
  6. John

    I'm a bit confused here. I don't believe that Judas was right in what he did to Jesus as it's the ultimate betrayal, but I thought god was supposed to be all-loving, even of sinners, no matter how badly they sinned in life. God made man to be mortal and can't help but to commit sin. Given the fact that god essentially has a plan for all of us, wouldn't that include those who commit atrocious acts? It's almost as if they don't even have a chance in life. Their destiny was to sin badly and ultimately be cast into hell. My theory: maybe everyone gets into heaven, but not directly. Some people may need to pay a repentance in purgatory based on the level of sin they've committed in life before they're eternally rewarded with heaven. Isn't that more consistent with Catholic beliefs since everyone gets a second chance if they atone for their sins in life by going to church, confession, prayer, etc.?

    April 21, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      John wrote: "I'm a bit confused here."

      Obviously...

      He also wrote: "Given the fact that god essentially has a plan for all of us..."

      A fact? Do you know the meaning of the word? It's nothing but a fairy tale used to control the behavior of the uneducated and delusional...

      April 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • John

      This is a fact according to the Catholic church, which may or may not be true. All things need to be held equal to evaluate the problem...just like economics.

      April 21, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  7. Evan

    "Is Judas in heaven or hell".

    We should not answer this.

    1) Only God and ourselves can know our own hearts. We cannot know what goes inside of another person, but God can. Outward signs mean nothing. In the New Testament, while the Pharisees did outwardly follow the Law of Moses to the Letter, they were hypocrites on the inside. With Judas, we cannot know this man's heart. For all we know, maybe he repented before comittimg suicide.

    2) Jesus Christ is the judge of the living and the dead; not us. Jesus judgements are completely righteous; ours are faulty. By declaring that we can determine who is going to heaven and who is going to hell is to put ourselves in Christ's positions, which we certainly should not do.

    I short, to say we know is not only wrong, but arrogant.

    April 21, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Conversely, to believe in the tall tales of the bible isn't humility. It's just plain stupid and wimpy.

      April 21, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  8. Chris

    Did I mention that is why it is called faith?

    April 21, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Chris wrote: "Did I mention that is why it is called faith?"

      That's what some would call it... others would call it self delusion...

      April 21, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Deneen

      @praisethelard

      why dont you move along dear?

      its none of your business if people want to live their own life as a Christian(Jew, Muslim, Wiccan, whatever)...

      you want to demand people live by YOUR way of life?
      how dare you try to set up a double standard for the rest of us.

      go away and mind your own business. if you do not believe judas existed, bugger off
      this story has nothing to do with you

      April 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  9. Chris

    The simple fact of the matter is that we can all debate all of these questions for eternity, but none of us will know the truth until we have ourselves died. Looking forward to discussing all of the "answers" with each of you at that time.

    April 21, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • jonathan

      Jesus said , "you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." I received the truth it set me free from lies ..the truth is the bible and the gift of the Holy Spirit is the proof.. 🙂

      April 21, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Yeah, Jonathon, that circular "proof" will get you great grades in Logic 101. Not.

      April 21, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      jonathan wrote: " the gift of the Holy Spirit is the proof. "

      How high was the proof of the holy spirit, and how drunk were you at the time?

      April 21, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @PtL- Probably as high as you were when you actually thought someone loved you.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  10. me

    Hell is what you create for yourself here on earth - it is your conscience– Heaven is peace– you need to clear your conscience to find peace– Death releases your soul– your soul continues until you learn all of life's lessons–

    April 21, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
  11. Salvatore

    Sooo... He asks people on Facebook if Judas is in heaven or hell (of which neither exist anyway) and then he basically chastizes everyone for debating the very question that HE POSED. That's religion for ya. Here's a question (assuming that these people actually existed as written); What could possibly make Paul and Judas betray Jesus after everything that they witnessed? Either they knew that Jesus was a con artist or this is all just some made up story. My vote is for option 2.

    April 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • hopp

      What could make a teenager curse his parents after all their love and care? It's not that they were a made-up story. It's that immaturity and rash action comes at all ages, and from fishermen as often as teenagers.

      April 21, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "What could possibly make Paul and Judas betray Jesus after everything that they witnessed? Either they knew that Jesus was a con artist or this is all just some made up story. "

      First, Paul never betrayed Jesus. Being a witness does not make one protected from evil. Also, you are assuming that Judas witness a great many things. Remember, not all the disciples were present for all miracles and such.

      For your "made up" theory. I will ask you to plz prove it by showing us who made it up, why they did it and with what resources. Plz cite your sources. Oh and before you whine about it, did I just ask you anything in a manner that an atheist doesn't ask a believer to do when they ask to be shown that God exists.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Yeah

      Made up...hmmm....how about the birthday of Jesus....

      The actual birthday of Jesus was forgotten by the early Christian movement. in those days, various groups celebrated his birth on JAN-6, APR-21 and MAY-1. By the 4th century, the church selected the approximate time of the winter solstice as the date to recognize Jesus' birth. They picked up this date from Pagan sources. As luck would have it, the autumn equinox might have been a more accurate choice.

      The winter solstice occurs about DEC-21 each year. It is the day of the year when the night is longest and the daytime shortest. Using the crude instruments available, ancient astronomers were able to detect by DEC-25 of each year that the daytime had become noticeably longer. This date was chosen, and remains, the traditional date for followers of many different Pagan religions to celebrate the rebirth of the sun. Following the solstice, each succeeding day has slightly more sunlight than the previous day. It was seen as a promise that warmth would return once more to the earth. Numerous pre-Christian Pagan religions honored their gods' birth or rebirth on or about that day. Their deities were typically called: Son of Man, Light of the World, Sun of Righteousness, Bridegroom, and Savior. Some examples are:

      Roman Pagan Religion: Attis was a son of the virgin Nana. His birth was celebrated on DEC-25. He was sacrificed as an adult in order to bring salvation to mankind. He died about MAR-25, after being crucified on a tree, and descended for three days into the underworld. On Sunday, he arose, "as the solar deity for the new season." His followers tied an image of Attis to a tree on "Black Friday," and carried him in a procession to the temple. His body was symbolically eaten by his followers in the form of bread. Worship of Attis began in Rome circa 200 BCE.

      Greek Pagan Religion: Dionysus is another savior-god whose birth was observed on DEC-25. He was worshipped throughout much of the Middle East as well. He had a center of worship in Jerusalem in the 1st century BCE. Some ancient coins have been found in Gaza with Dionysus on one side and JHWH (Jehovah) on the other. In later years, his flesh and blood were symbolically eaten in the form of bread and wine. He was viewed as the son of Zeus, the Father God.

      Egyptian Pagan Religion: Osiris is a savior-god who had been worshipped as far back as Neolithic times. "He was called Lord of Lords, King of Kings, God of Gods...the Resurrection and the Life, the Good shepherd...the god who 'made men and women be born again'". Three wise men announced his birth. His followers ate cakes of wheat which symbolized his body. Many sayings as-sociated with Osiris were taken over into the Bible. This included:

      • 23rd Psalm: an appeal to Osiris as the good Shepherd to lead believers through the valley of the shadow of death and to green pastures and still waters
      • Lord's Prayer: "O amen, who art in heaven..."
      • Many parables attributed to Jesus.

      Worship of Osiris, and celebration of his DEC-25 birth, were established throughout the Roman Empire by the end of the 1st century BCE.

      Persian Pagan Religion: Mithra was a Persian savior. Worship of Mithra became common throughout the Roman Empire, particularly among the Roman civil service and military. Mithraism was a compet-itor of Christianity until the 4th century. Their god was believed to have been born on DEC-25, circa 500 BCE. His birth was witnessed by shepherds and by gift-carrying Magi. This was celebrated as the "Dies Natalis Solic Invite," The "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun." Some followers believed that he was born of a virgin. During his life, he performed many miracles, cured many illnesses, and cast out devils. He celebrated a Last Supper with his 12 disciples. He ascended to heaven at the time of the spring equinox, about March 21.

      The Babylonians celebrated their "Victory of the Sun-God" Festival on DEC-25. Saturnalia (the Festival of Saturn) was celebrated from DEC-17 to 23 in the Roman Empire. The Roman Emperor Aurelian blended Saturnalia with a number of birth celebrations of savior Gods from other religions, into a single holy day: DEC-25. After much argument, the developing Christian church adopted this date as the birthday of their savior, Jesus. The people of the Roman Empire were accustomed to celebrating the birth of a God on that day. So, it was easy for the church to divert people's attention to Jesus' birth.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Some followers believed that he was born of a virgin."

      Yeah, but so far that is only his followers online. Archaeological evidence supports the vast majority of his believers that he was born from a rock.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "the church selected the approximate time of the winter solstice as the date to recognize Jesus' birth. They picked up this date from Pagan sources."

      While the date was chosen by the church fathers, that does not make the Bible any more or less accurate. Jesus's birth is not lsited. You can't hold the Bibical writers accountable for what ppl do centuries later.

      And you are guessin at the pagan thing. Unless you have any sources to put up?

      April 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • David

      "And you are guessin at the pagan thing. Unless you have any sources to put up?"

      Yeah,

      Lycidas can't think for themselves they need others to help them out.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  12. Muneef

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2006/apr/7/20060407-120642-3758r/

    April 21, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Artist

      Intersting...note:
      .
      Rev. Donald Senior, president of the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. The writers of the Gospel of Judas, he added, “made its characters to be mouthpieces of their own theology.”

      April 21, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • Muneef

      That's how the story went that the one who betrayed Jesus was the one who was crucified...

      April 21, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  13. Muneef

    Wasn't it Judas who died on the cross mistaken for Jesus being in his cloth?
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2006/apr/7/20060407-120642-3758r/

    April 21, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Artist

      If so, then where did the real jesus go?

      April 21, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • jonathan

      Jesus ascended up into heaven in the sight of his 11 apostles ..then sent the Holy Spirit in the next chaper in Acts...

      this same Holy Spirit received I also in 1978...Rivers of living water flowed out of my belly as Jesus said in John 7:37-19 ....This is how I know for certain that the quran is a lie nad should all be burned all of them..because muhammad is a false prophet condemning all Muslims to hell lest they repent and believe the gospel of Christ.. 🙂

      April 21, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  14. Alan

    This just in.....God spoke to me using a little voice in my head and told me Judas never even existed!!!....So the point is moot!!!

    Move along folks...

    April 21, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • jonathan

      Jesus said that it were better for that man that he had never been born...do maybe you're right .. 🙂

      not......... 🙂

      April 21, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      jonathan wrote: "Jesus said that it were better for that man that he had never been born..."

      You mean that Jesus would have been in favor of abortion?

      April 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @PtL- abortion has nothing to do with the baby but everything to do with the mother. So the answer is no.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  15. red_cruet

    Sir: After reading this message, I felt uplifted, as one should feel after receiving a spiritual message. Thank you.

    April 21, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  16. Erky

    Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing.
    H. L. Mencken

    April 21, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable in terms of the NOT WORTH KNOWING".
      H. L. Mencken
      Oh, how arrogant those words sound. But Mr. Mencken now knows, and has known for 56 years, while occupying his present and permanent residence....
      NOW HE KNOWS that the One he deemed not worth knowing was the ONLY One who could have saved his pityful soul. What a waste of life that could have been so different!

      April 21, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  17. richdix

    Judas is in neither Hell nor Heaven. He is asleep and will remain asleep forever.

    April 21, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • jonathan

      even if you we re right then that's hell too ..to miss out on heaven is hell any way you look at it.. 🙂 😦

      April 21, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • Deneen

      Not according to scripture that says Jesus is to come again.

      If Judas did repent–we do not know what was in his heart the moment he died–when Jesus returns, when the dead rise...so will Judas

      April 21, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  18. Jim

    The LORD – I'm willing to bet that Christmas was more fun when you believed a big man in a red suit came down your chimney and left you presents. Wouldn't life be more fun if you believed in a big man in the sky with a white beard that looked after you and your family and prepared a nice warm place for you when you died? Either way, you're going to be on this earth for roughly 74.6 years and then die. You might as well believe in Santa while you're here. Am I wrong??

    April 21, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • hopp

      You're wrong. You asked.

      April 21, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  19. TruthandJustice

    Seriously? How dense do you have to be to know that Judas is in Hell? He was a greedy unrepentant thief who was party to murder and committed suicide. Judas, like most Jews, believed that Jesus was coming to establish a physical kingdom, and so he tried to force Jesus into defeating the Romans by forcing a confrontation. Judas refused to listen to Jesus about the kingdom being spiritual and not physical. He could have been saved if he had repented, but he did not, he committed suicide, so obviously he is in Hell.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  20. brian

    It's pretty funny that all these idiot believers "know" things. They "know" there's a god, they "know" there's a heaven.... riiiiight.

    I also "know" that aliens from Omicron Persei 8 have four eyes and long antennae.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • jonathan

      all you need to know God for sure is to receive the Holy Spirit... 🙂

      April 21, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Lrrr

      Mmmmm...popplers...

      April 21, 2011 at 9:17 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.