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. Don Vickers

    If it wasn't for Judas would Christ have died on the cross which saved me from my sins? If he was hand picked by Jesus don't you think Jesus knew what his role would be? I think Judas did what he was suppose to do so we could be saved.
    Thank you Judas

    April 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  2. Scooty

    First, you'll have to show that there is a "heaven and hell." When you get done with that, come see me. Otherwise, you may as well write that there's a Middle Earth and Frodo Baggins is a hobbit. It has as much integrity and factual evidence.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  3. Starhopper

    I would say, with ALL CERTAINTY, that Judas is dead right now. Anything else is just strong opinion based on heresay, stories handed down thru time, and such.

    It seems to me that people NEED Judas (and others, like Hitler) to be in hell for them to feel good about their own choices in life. For people who choose what they believe to be the "right path", only to find out, in the end, that people like Hitler and Judas are in heaven, would destroy their fragile faith.

    After all, if one stands in line for hours to purchase a ticket for a broadway show, and then someone shows up at the last minute, cuts in line and gets a ticket ahead of you – what's the point of following the rules and standing in line.

    Frankly, I don't see any evidence in heaven or hell. But, if there are such things, I think people will be surprised to see people whom the considered "evil" standing in the front of the line at the pearly gates awaiting entry ahead of those who "obeyed the rules".

    April 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  4. mike hunt

    jesus had to be sacraficed to fulfill prophecy. so someone had to sell him out to set that in motion. judas was probably chosed due to his righousness more than his wickedness.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  5. uasdkfj234

    Neither. Your born, you live, you die. End of story. The only thing that continues is the reuse of your molecules, iron, water, calcium, etc...

    April 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  6. Spock

    I think he's somewhere dancing to the song "Rock Around the Cross" by Pontius Pilate and his Nail Drivin' Five...

    April 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  7. Chris

    LOL! Only in America is this a burning philosophical question.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  8. Kark

    God is just pretend.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  9. dribble

    It looks like Jesus and the other guy are about to tongue each other in that picture...can;t say I am surprised.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm |

    Oh my gosh. ijreilly, how can you say that? You are talking about the almighty heavenly father in such a normal disrectful tone. Heaven and Hell are both real and the bible clearly sais so. It is obvious that you are not a believer because you wouldnt have talked to our heavenly father like one of your friends. GOD is awesome and his work and his blessings speak for themselves. For all those that are saved and believe in GOD I thank you, keep fighting the GOD fight and he will direct your paths. GOD and thank you for saving me and dying on the cross for my sins.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  11. Doghouse Riley

    Mr. Gross says "the facts are the facts", eh? Then I suggest he actually learns the difference between factual information and anecdotal information.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  12. pat

    the fact that this is on the front page of a news website appalls me

    April 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  13. tonynatemama

    IHOP, had Judas repented and asked God's forgiveness, he wouldn't have committed suicide. If in his dying moments, he asked forgiveness, he would be in heaven. Someone had to do what he did. It is heartbreaking that he did, all for 30 measely pieces of silver.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  14. Kim

    For I can't say for certainty, what fate awaits a man for whom Jesus says, it is better for that man to not have been born. Matthew 26:24 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.”

    April 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  15. jdhogg

    Who cares, it's all made up fairy tail

    April 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  16. dribble

    My Take: Is Santa in the North Pole or Fiji? Harry Potter only knows.

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

    Judas was obviously fulfilling the prophecy therefore he is in hell.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  18. Southern Christian

    Sheol is the hebrew word for hell. It is used in the Bible many times. Sheol was the place the dead were taken. Wild animals and other predators ate the dead and the place was dreaded and dreadful.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Yeah right

      In Judaism She'ol is the earliest conception of the afterlife in the Jewish Scriptures. It is a place of darkness to which all dead go regardless of the moral choices made in life and where they are "removed from the light of God." She'ol is a concept that predates the Christian and Muslim ideas of judgment after death and also predates, and is different from, Heaven and Hell. It is unclear whether Sheol was to be considered a real place or a way of describing the unknown status of a person's conscious being.

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

    Well, I disagree with Judas being in hell. I don't see anyone in "Hell" YET. It has it's time and place. God's plan was for no human to go to Hell. It was not created for us, but who is God to stop us if that's where we Choose to be by our actions and deeds. There is NO REPENTANCE from the Grave. God has a purpose for everyones life and that purpose has to include hope for the further (faith). Without it, it is impossible to please God. Judas had no faith no hope. The act of suicide is what separated Judas from Peter. Yes they both denied him, but one repented and continued his walk with him based on faith. The other gave up because there was no hope, so he thought because of the LIE that SATAN convinced him to believe.The thief (Satan) comes only to kill, steal and destroy. He is a murderer and the father of Lies. He is death and God, my father is Life.
    Who is your Father?
    Who was Judas's Father?
    There is a scripture that says The race is not giving to the the swift nor strong, but to him the endures to the end. Peter ran on the see the end. Judas wanted that "right now solution", no long suffering, no patience ... Remorse and Repentance go hand in hand, but with repentance YOU need to know that you are forgiving. I don't think Judas felt this way as he went on to commit suicide. The act of suicide in it's self tells me that he didn't believe what he was taught by JESUS. Why would we believe that just because Jesus choose him he had to be right. We are human, flesh we all sin. We were born in sin and shaped in inequity. So was Judas. Jesus choose him for the same reason he choose us. Love.(and the fact it was predecioned) God loved us so much he sent Jesus to die for us (giving us hope). If he had his way none would perious, all would have eternal life. He would not have giving us a task that we could not handle, but we must show ourselves faithful. Ask your selves these Questions....( I Know I Will)

    Does everyone that say they walk with the Lord TRUELY walk with him?
    Is it true that once IN the church ALWAYS IN the church? And define IN the Church....
    (Church-the body of believers. They must have believed in Acts chapter 2 and to think they were considered to be the First Church in the bible. Followers of Christ. Christians).
    Will we all make it to heaven just by believing? (Well believing is the first step, however Actions DO speak LOUDER than words I hear).
    Will we allow that one big sin to have us Hell Bond?
    (SIN is SIN...PERIOD. No big ones or little ones. Sin separates us from God. If separted, how do we get back in Gods grace..REPENT).

    I strongly urge every child of God to seek out his/her OWN salvation with fear and trembling. I wouldn't wait until I get before God and think I MAY have it right, and then he tells me Depart from me you worker of inequity for I never knew you. To know God is to have a Relationship with him. Think about relationship...... Think about God. When you are in a relationship you do what pleases the other party because in return that pleases you. All I know is Jesus left instructions and if we love him we follow. Jesus said Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. I believe the apostle Peter (who was remorsful for dening Jesus, But Repented and did not contiue in sin) said it best. They are....
    Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. So, we must be BORN AGAIN of the water and the spirt. The water baptism and the spiritual baptism (with fire...meaning the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit) or we shall not See Heaven, let alone dwell there in. I think we need to take the WORD of GOD more serious. And not gamble our eternal place of rest on how We feel. Because God takes his word very seriously. So serious he says in
    Revelation 22:18-19
    18For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
    19And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

    God Bless the reading of his word.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Southern Christian


      April 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  20. Levi

    What in the world are you talking about with all of this "the sin of self-destruction by suicide is going to send you to hell" nonsense? That's not the Bible. That's nowhere to be found in the Scruptures. That's not theology. It's a demonic, fear based, grace diminishing lie, at best, maybe. But it is certainly not a Scriptural truth.

    My father just killed himself three months ago due to a mental malady after 25 years of complete devotion to Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and savior. You're going to tell me that Judas is in hell because of suicide? I don't know whether he's in hell or not, but if he is it was not because of "the unforgivable sin of self destruction". That's nowhere to be found in scripture and it's an ignorant, religious based argument void of God's grace for sinners.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • joe jones

      Please. There is no Christian God any more than there is a Muslim God.

      Only the uneducated mentally defective believe in Gods.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Southern Christian

      As a Christian I have been taught there is ony one unpardonable sin..... the denial of the Holy Spirit which to me means when you are convicted to repent and ask Jesus to be your savior, you deny Him (Holy Spirit) and walk on without Jesus.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Virginia

      The Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus rescued them both.

      April 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Virginia

      How you ask? Easy– on a flying carpet.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Samantha

      I am sorry for the loss of your father. You are right, the unforgivable sin is the sin of quenching or refusing the Holy Spirit. In other words, refusing Christ.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • TEXAS-JJ

      Sorry but there are times of depression, darkness and deep sadness that can take a Christian down to the point where they take their own life. Jesus is mercy. Jesus is mercy and this poor soul will not be in hell. The mercy of the Lord laying His life down for us covers all sins if we believe that He is the Son of G-d and was crucified dead and buried and on the 3rd day rose from the grave...this happened over 2,000 years ago He saved then and He save now. Once you are under His Blood you are covered forever-the only unpardon sin is to not accept Him as your G-d.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Wayshower

      The Holy Spirit is not Christ as far as what I learned. The Holy Spirit is the "Feminine" energy of God. As God is referred to as "The Father" technically God would not be gender based, as one or the other since it isn't human. However, the writings in the Bible and other religions make more sense that God is actually made of 3 beings. This is where we get the word "Trinity" from. God "The Father", The Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit (Mother).

      I believe that at each persons core is a spark of God, or "Mother" / Holy Spirit. When one leads a life that is virtuous, they actually are able to connect with their inner self/soul/Holy Spirit which is actually your "other half" of your soul. Then one can start to "ascend" to that of the "Son" (Christed Conciousness), and then back home to completion (God).

      April 21, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • jdhogg

      The number one problem with this world is people that believe anything that is told to them, or written down in work of fiction without facts or real evidence to back it up.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:25 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.