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. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The Bible also tells us to be aware of false prophets.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  2. Inspector Clouseau

    CNN needs to quit with these controversial topics, already. The Pink Monkeys get SO riled up.And then they just don't eat right the rest of the day.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  3. Mulebomber

    lol heaven and hell. i think its neither. he's probably in fairyland, or the shire, or one of the other imaginary places

    April 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  4. Jack

    isnt the question – If Gods plan was for Jesus to die for mans sins and he chose Judas to be the catalyst for this death then was his role predetermined. Did Judas have a choice? If he had not choosen to betray Jesus was there going to be another situation so Jesus would be crucified?

    April 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  5. Jay

    Read Mark 14 - KJV..The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born., I dont think he's being rewarded. Peace.:)

    April 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • SpiderMan

      the fact that you actually believe jibberish just because it is written and some lemming told you it was true and real, tells me you just dont think for yourself at all....period!

      April 21, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  6. Josh

    I do not punish a pencil when it writes the sentence that I am guiding it to do, even if that message is profane.

    Simply put, the betrayal, if it were to have happened, would be part of the "great" plan executed by that god to have his followers be in awe of his kindness.

    Let's review, God creates man, man disappoints, God kills all men except for one family, God restarts his experiment, God is further disappointed, he interjects himself into a virgin, lives a mortal puppet-like life, then has his puppet die for our sins... And Judas is the one that is at fault.... right.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  7. Keith Snyder

    Is the Easter Bunny at the North Pole or in Cleveland?

    April 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  8. Jose

    I like to believe that Judas's intentions were good ones, but what happened, as it usually does for most of us, our intentions conflict with what actually happens. How many of us find ourselves saying, "but that is not what I meant to do. I actually wanted to help." Judas messed up. Based on what I know about Jesus, Judas is not in hell, though I am sure Judas felt like he was in hell prior to ending his life. Why is it so comforting or necessary for many of us to judge and condemn another? I think that is bigger question to ask than whether or not someone is in hell.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  9. Historical Jesus

    You have to seperate Historical Jesus from religious Jesus..

    Jesus Christ was born "Cesar"
    son of Julius Ceasar and Cleopatra Ptolomy.
    Ceasar was declared by the Roman senate to be a "god"
    so Cesar was son of God.
    Cleopatra declared herself reincarnate of Virgin goddess "Isis"
    so Cesar was the son of a virgin.
    (Jesus Christ means "son of isis")
    Quick history.....
    Ceasar murdered, Mark Antony comes to Egypt
    Antony & Cleopatra have 3 children
    Egypt & Rome go to war
    Cesar must be eliminated as he is the rightful heir to both the throne in Rome
    and in Egypt.
    Before her death Cleopatra sends Cesar away with an entourage
    including brothers and sisters aunts and uncles.
    Cesar spends 13 years in India and studies Buddhism.

    Upon his return at the age of 33
    now being called Jesus Christ
    he has come back to regain his throne
    but is arrested on political charges
    (Threat to the Roman Empire)
    and ordered Crucified.
    He did not die on the cross, he was taken down
    and put in the tomb of a rich man.
    This is where the story gets highjacked
    and history has been revised.
    All of the people who he left Egypt with
    show up later in the story with new names.
    The blood line lives.
    Children of Jesus & Mary Magdalene
    walk this earth today, and hold powerful positions
    in world government.
    The vatican is corrupt and evil
    but needs "Thier" story of jesus as its cash cow.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  10. Drew

    Judas should be canonized. He did exactly what he was foretold to do – and in fact did exactly what had to be done for the last days of Christ's life to play out as they did.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  11. mattmchugh

    You make some interesting points.

    But I can't take any writer seriously.

    Who uses so many one-line paragraphs.

    And sentence fragments.

    - mm

    April 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  12. Jt in Sd.

    Judas showed his remorse and repentance by his actions (his self imposed death) after his betrayal. That is what Jesus died for. Those who are repentant and remorseful for their sins. Judas received the grace of God through his heart actions!

    Saved By Grace and Heaven Bound!

    April 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • goldha

      "Saved by grace and Heaven bound." I sure like that. Makes sense to me.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • SpiderMan

      or....just another dumb lemming that couldn't think for himself and ended up worm food for a few years.....

      now....nothing more than mother earth that borne him......

      PS....worms don't believe in heaven or hell either, although i'm sure they enjoyed his flesh plenty!

      April 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  13. John

    Heaven and hell are right next door to Oz. When will you peoples stop believing your fairy tales??

    April 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Troy

      Friend, the only one making your path to righteousness difficult if yourself.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  14. Jose luis

    The cuestion is:Do exist Good,heaven or hell?

    April 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  15. The reaper

    There is no heaven and there is no hell....there is only the fade to black. Live your life well because it's the only one your ever going to have. Those of you that believe in God and Jesus will live your whole life only to find out in the end how foolish you were.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • khaotix2

      All true ,except the last bit. Kind of contradicting yourself when you say that there is no afterlife, and then saying you will find that out after you die.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Troy

      .. and that the lack of an afterlife is somehow permission to be a hedonist.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Mystikral

      If you are right then I cease to exist at death. No remorse because I won't exist anymore.
      If you are wrong and I choose not to believe then I will spend eternity in hell and suffer for all eternity regretting that decision.
      Then again if we are arguing about a subject matter that doesn't even exist in your mind I am wasting my time arguing the other point as this is all make believe and then why comment on the subject in the first place? In regards to people blaming Judas for all the suffering in the world....I blame the devil for tempting Adam and Eve and bringing sin in to the world. That is why we suffer. If you want to blame someone, then blame Satan. At least God is able to save some of the willing from our own sin nature that Satan brought in to the world. In regards to Christians that suffer and die, to die is gain. No more suffering on earth in sin as they will live in heaven. There must be a penalty for sin, just like there is a penalty for crime. We can't go all willy nilly and feel like we don't deserve any punishment. At least all we have to do to avoid the ultimate penalty is to accept Christ and believe in his sacrificial atonement, however, we still have to suffer on earth for humanity crime in the garden of eden.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Troy

      @Mystrikal – We can't blame Satan for what happened in the Garden. Adam and Eve both had free will, and the onus is definitely on them both.

      April 22, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  16. John

    Neither as neither he or heaven or hell exist or existed. Its all a work of antiquated fantasy fiction and we have allot more pressing and relevant things to focus here in the 21st century.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Anon

      you think this is bad? you should read the comments on the story about banning peanuts on airplanes. the internet has given people the freedom to lose their bleedin' minds.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  17. luau

    I think there is a very high likelihood that the biblical recount of the last supper has been exaggerated. I suggest: if Jesus, being the son of God, already knew he would be betrayed by his most trusted disciple, then why on earth did Jesus let Judas down by not intervening? By not intervening, Jesus did Judas the greatest betrayal of a friend by letting generations of Christians lay all blame on him and permitting Jesus be the betrayed matyr. Alternatively, stories in the bible tend to have extremely black/white thinking. If Jesus was matyred, then they will want someone to be a scapegoat. What better person to offer up as the ultimate scapegoat than the most trusted disciple?

    April 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Reecie

      Jesus allowed this to happen because HE had to die for our sins so that we might be saved. There was no other way.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  18. J

    John 6:70 (New International Version, ©2011)

    70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!”

    April 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • stburger

      He also said to Peter "Get thee behind me Satan"

      April 21, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    As a conclusion, I would not die for no reason, HE was not insane, He knew what is on THE OTHER SIDE...
    Would you die for no reason????

    April 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • SpiderMan

      HUGE lols....

      now that is one lemming concept.....


      i mean seriously....how stupid, blind and follower can people be.....no wonder this world is turning to crap.....too many lemming iTards continuallly making the wrong decisions...........time after time after time after time after time after time after time...

      April 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  20. Anon

    this conversation is ridiculous. who cares.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:17 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.