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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. jerry

    I read Craig's article and some of the ridiculous comments and I only have this to say. What Judas did and where he is at is God's decision, not ours.
    Secondly, for all you Sunday Morning Church Christians and Sunday Morning Couch Christians and all the couch atheists out there, you and the Church in the States have it all to easy. Here in China where I live and work as a teacher, there is a state church that is monitored heavily by the government and there are the House churches that are now beginning to be heard and are holding there services out in public, but the members are being arrested and thrown in jail and yet they continue to hold there services. Would you do the same if the situation was reversed?
    Finally, Religion with all its trappings, all its rituals is a product of man made to worship man. The church was never meant to be just a building, the church is you and I. True Christianity is not a religion, it is not spewing out Bible verses at the drop of hat to prove one's point, it is walking the walk and if you can't do it, so be it.
    As for the atheists, what do you expect from them, something intelligent?
    I would also like to visit Craig Cross facebook page, but facebook is blocked here in China as are a lot of sites and from his article that I just read, I would like to read more of his work.

    April 22, 2011 at 7:30 am |
    • Reality

      Continued from p. 46:

      The Judas stories are mostly legends created by M, M, L and J.

      For example:
      http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-tle=189_Better_Not_Born:

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 96:

      "Jesus never spoke the words about the betrayal of Jesus e.g. Mark 14: 17-21. Rather, from the fact the Jesus was betrayed, early Christians concluded that Jesus must have known this in advance and therefore prophesied it. "
      Mark 14: 43-45

      Jesus is arrested:
      From Ludemann, p. 99:

      "The report is strongly legendary and in part enigmatic. "
      The thirty pieces of silver and suicide legend: ex. Matt 27: 3-10

      "The historical value is nil." p. 246

      April 22, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Keep it up Reality NOT ...

      Proverbs 6:16 These six [things] doth the LORD hate: yea, seven [are] an abomination unto him:

      Proverbs 6:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

      Proverbs 6:18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

      Proverbs 6:19 A false witness [that] speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

      Amen.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  2. ceo

    attempting to know anything about theology makes Cgaig Gross look like the true mongloid he is.

    April 22, 2011 at 7:20 am |
  3. J

    As long as we're already talking fiction, could you do your next article about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Maybe one on who would win in a fight: Batman or Superman?

    April 22, 2011 at 7:12 am |
    • Thor

      Thor can beat both at once with his hammer.

      April 22, 2011 at 7:26 am |
  4. Thor

    Thor sends Christians to hell and atheists to heaven. So what if you're wrong about Thor, Christians?

    April 22, 2011 at 7:08 am |
    • Lycidas

      Actually...the term is Hel and there really isn't a "heaven" in the beliefs of the Norse. Try and do some research before you prattle on.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  5. Yomomma

    I don't think the good pastor should "unfriend" someone simply for being a good student of the Bible. Mark 14:21 says "For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." Normally, I agree that we ought to reserve our judgment of a person's ultimate fate since that is solely in the hands of God's grace and we don't know another's heart before God. However, an exception is when Scripture tell us that person's ultimate end. It is hard to believe that it would have been better for Judas to have not been born if he is in heaven.

    April 22, 2011 at 6:38 am |
  6. Sean

    I happen to believe in the scriptures. Judas is neither in heaven or hell. He is dead, awaiting ressurection.

    April 22, 2011 at 6:22 am |
  7. eastwood1379@gmail.com

    We should look closer into Quran and Sunnah and discover more about Jesus and his second coming. The seal of the Prophets, Prophet Muhammad, told us in great details about Jesus' second coming.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_in_Islam

    April 22, 2011 at 6:10 am |
  8. Adelina

    Acts chapter 1 clearly indicates unrepentant traitors like Judas went to hell. It's outright tragegic, but wishful thinking doesn't help and some matters are definitely knowable. People should concern one's own standing before God, not of Judas. No Jesus = No salvation.

    April 22, 2011 at 4:01 am |
    • lokiman301

      I thought that Judas killed himself for betraynig Jesus. Is not killing oneself not repentence enough to get you into heaven. Killing oneself and taking a few extras along with you will get one into heaven if you are a muslim:)

      April 22, 2011 at 4:25 am |
    • Dorianmode

      "tragegic" ??
      "concern one's own standing before God, noy of Judas"
      aahhh......well remember...
      CNN Basic English spelling and grammar for Bloggers : 2 PM daily
      A seat is reserved for you.

      April 22, 2011 at 6:35 am |
  9. Buy a Plenary Indulgence today on Ebay, with Paypall

    Too bad he didn't have an American Express card. He could have bought one of my products and gone STRAIGHT into paradise.

    April 22, 2011 at 3:36 am |
  10. John

    I don't think that very many WANT Judas to be in hell. The fact of the matter is that if we are to be anything like God as he is presented in Scriptures we shouldn't want any to face that judgment, for "God is patient" wanting all to come to "repentance" (c.f. 2 Peter). However, the conjecture of this article is baseless, I am sad to say. I feel like the author spends more time doing theology based upon his feelings than he does based upon the Biblical text. The reality is that the way Judas is portrayed in Scripture leaves no option open for him with regard for heaven. Yes, he demonstrates sorrow, but this is likely the "worldly sorrow" Paul speaks of that does not lead to repentance (e.g. the kind of sorrow that a crook has only because he got caught or because more evil came about from his actions than he intended). We have to remember the challenge we are dealing with when assessing narrative–never do the Gospel writers directly say that Judas goes to hell. But the imagery and the portrayal of Judas by the other apostles makes it clear that Judas is destined for judgment. He may have been predestined for this evil act, but he was not coerced. He is culpable because he chose his own evil path and becomes the paradigm of evil for rejecting the promised Messiah as he came despite all the opportunities he had otherwise.

    April 22, 2011 at 2:41 am |
  11. Lucky

    I believe on judgment day we would know where Judas would go. Heaven or hell. And also my personal opinion is that it is not the sin of betrayal of son of God it is that Judas missed out on Jesus's reconciliation ministry. If Judas knew Jesus so well he would have recognised the Lord's mission on earth. Again my personal opinion is that rather than committing suicide Judas would have asked for forgiveness and restoration of his soul with the prince of peace. The lesson I learn from Judas is that even during the most darkest moment of my life to hang on to the "Anchor" as it much stronger and powerful than I, myself. He will come to my rescue even when I am covered with sin. Jesus loves the sinner and hates the sin, so hang on my dear soul !!!

    April 22, 2011 at 1:47 am |
  12. fsmgroupie

    believe in me or burn in hell
    repent or burn in hell
    beg for forgiveness or burn n hell
    whorship me or burn in hell - for millions and billions and trillions and zillions of eons
    but i give you free will

    April 22, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  13. James Morton

    Since no one's observing Judas, he's in a mixed quantum state, equally as much in heaven as in hell.

    April 22, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • San Onofre Surfer

      Wow. At least there is one educated intelligent person on these entire boards.
      "Don't look now", (as it were), or you will crash the system.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:45 am |
    • Lycidas

      Schoeders Cat!! Sorry, I know I got the spelling wrong but it was kind of cool to see a reference to it.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  14. friend

    His decision to betray Christ was of free will, he chose to do so, or better spoken chose to give into the temptation. Scripture calls him the Son of Perdition (damnation)previous scripture has to be fufilled just make sure it's not you doing it. Christ chose him but didn't make him do anything, he even warned him that he knew of his desire to betray him. Lastly you can't repent (turn from sin) and then do the sin, suicide is a sin of murdering ones self. If you actually succeed at it leaves no room for turning from it. Repentance is also part of your salvation along with belief. Grace is applied if you error while trying to resist sin. Is Judas in hell, quite simply yes. How about we just make sure we don't follow his path. Christian's please remember "such were some of you" before our salvation, so please be mindful of those who don't believe as we.

    God bless and Happy Easter

    April 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
  15. Reality

    Continued from p. 44:

    The Judas stories are mostly legends created by M, M, L and J.

    For example:
    http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-tle=189_Better_Not_Born:

    And from Professor Gerd Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 96:

    "Jesus never spoke the words about the betrayal of Jesus e.g. Mark 14: 17-21. Rather, from the fact the Jesus was betrayed, early Christians concluded that Jesus must have known this in advance and therefore prophesied it. "
    Mark 14: 43-45

    Jesus is arrested:
    From Ludemann, p. 99:

    "The report is strongly legendary and in part enigmatic. "
    The thirty pieces of silver and suicide legend: ex. Matt 27: 3-10

    "The historical value is nil." p. 246

    April 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
  16. STUART

    Nice to see someone deleted my post about the Illuminati earlier today around 2:30 am???

    April 21, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  17. Tom

    Do leprechauns prefer chocolate or vanilla ice cream? Discuss.

    April 21, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  18. Evan

    Atheists: why don't you believe the Bible is accurate? (Don't say "Because it's false" or "Because it's a bunch of fairy tales", for that would be begging-the-question. Don't say "Because it's full of contradictions" because this only implies you have never studied it).

    April 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • Tom

      Seriously? A talking snake? Virign births? Burning bushes? The question is: why do YOU believe it?

      April 21, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • HotairAce

      @Tom

      You haven't been paying attention! God works in mysterious ways beyond a mere mortal's comprehension. If she wants a snake to talk, that's no problem! Please do not try to bring logic to an irrational situation.

      April 21, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • Jesus

      Tom, I was totally convinced by the talking snake. I actually went out and bought one at a local pet store. Spent hundreds of hours trying to get him to speak. Somebody broke the news to me that snakes don't have vocal chords. Gee, does that mean that this Bible story like so many others in the Bible was just a myth spun by a bronze age dictator to control his subjects?

      April 22, 2011 at 5:21 am |
    • Lycidas

      "does that mean that this Bible story like so many others in the Bible was just a myth spun by a bronze age dictator to control his subjects?"

      I love it when ppl think they are clever and just show how ignorant they are. Snake? Try serpent...not quite the same thing. I am guessing you have been looking at too many pieces of art from the Middle Ages.

      Bronze Age? Try Iron. Dictator? Care to say who you think that was?

      April 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  19. SteveB

    I think God needs some people to act as the tools of his plan.. and some of them end up being abused byu the process. Judas was obviously one of the group.. a believer.. but.. in order to fulfill prophecy Jesus had to be betrayed by one of his own.. and God had about 12 to pick from. Judas was chosen .. and has born the brunt of the guilt ever since..

    I think any just God would have brought him in close to him.. to heal the scarring placed on him on earth. so yes.. i think he is in heaven.

    BTW.. if you want to take an alternative view of sorts.. go get a copy of Jesus Christ Superstar and listen. Perhaps it might help give an appreciation for the suffering he too went through

    April 21, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • Cadberry Egg

      My favorite religious movie: "Diemetrius & the Gladiators"-1953–check it out.

      "Doc...after the operation...will I ever play the violin?"

      "With proper rest, I don't see why not."

      "Hey..that's great news Doc..I could never play it before."

      April 21, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  20. Fake god

    I love Judas and Lady GaGa. I believe Pastor Long Dong is in heaven with his cherry boys now.

    April 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • My prayers were answered

      I knew there was a greater power when my one night stand (Nasty Nancy) said she wasn't pregnant. Thank you Lord.

      April 21, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • Jesus

      Here's another question of the same ilk...Does Santa Claus summer on the North Pole or the South Pole?

      April 22, 2011 at 5:16 am |
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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.