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. RichG

    I'm sure Judas is in heaven. Thank you Judas for betraying Jesus, without you he would have not been able to die for our sins.

    April 21, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  2. rennie grant

    @Colin.... Very well thought out and very well written. But why do you care SO much about those who believe in Leprechauns? Why have you put so much effort into making them look so small and yourself look so BIG? Why do you care if some of us believe in Leprechauns?? The path to the Leprechaun king is very wide indeed and there are many philosophies regarding him.

    April 21, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Chanselor Jenkins

      because colin in an inventor

      April 21, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Colin

      @rennie. First, thank you. It is kind of you to say so, even theoughtwe see things very differently. To answer, for two reasons. One, religion is a collosus waste of time and resources. Think how many lives, animals, man-hours the World has wasted on religion. I feel that he sooner we free ourselves from it as a civilization, the better.

      Two, religios people try to control what I do based on their beliefs.

      April 21, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  3. AnotherView

    Judas pointed Jesus out to the Romans. Then God changed Judas' appearance and made him look like Jesus WITH Judas' consent. Judas was the one who was crucified. Jesus was not crucified. Judas' reward? The highest heaven with God.

    April 21, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  4. Ben Myers

    "This is not the debate Christians need to be engaged in."- then why would the author post it on his facebook. And why would he unfriend someone for answering a question he asked.
    also, here is another option, maybe no one has a damn clue about what happens to us when we die.

    April 21, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  5. Paul

    What a pointless story... CNN u r a joke, along with all the other corperate owned media. I am still dumbfounded at 28 years old that people believe in this mumbo jumbo. Sorry guys, there is no heaven and you just die. Better try and make life more enjoyable for the people around you instead of debating worthless crap like this. Here's one for you.... did the tooth fairy like chocolate or cherry pie? Please disscus...

    April 21, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  6. Levin

    I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.

    – Albert Einstein

    Enough said.

    April 21, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  7. Tom

    Odds are all of these characters aren't real anyway. So let's just say Judas is on the death star riding around with Odysseus and little red riding hood.

    April 21, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  8. vaheelius

    why don't we read any articles about Zeus and his son hercules? THey are the true gods enough of this jesus character already.

    April 21, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  9. c5qu4r3d

    Neither destination exists....so who cares?

    April 21, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  10. Stike

    Really? Why is this article on a news site?

    April 21, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  11. Conguero

    This "hip young pastor", who is now 35, doesn't know his Bible very well.... John 6-70 "Jesus answered them, "Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and {yet} one of you is a devil?" 71 Now He meant Judas (son) of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him." ..... Jesus called him a devil.. Devils are doomed to hell. I could point out many more passages, but won't. Read your Bible.

    April 21, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  12. Christ on a bike

    Neither exist, so why waste your breath?

    April 21, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • HeavenSent

      And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

      Isaiah 13:11


      April 22, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  13. CatholicMom

    We betray Jesus every time we sin.

    Do we repent of our sin or say to ourselves, ‘It is okay, Jesus died for my sin so I am covered’…? For those who believe that all you have to do is believe in Jesus to be saved…didn’t Judas believe in Jesus?

    April 21, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  14. TreeTop

    CNN – what's with these crazy religious articles? They keep flooding the main page. How is this news? Why don't you concentrate on what's going on with the world, instead of blasting your site with inane speculation of a obsolete belief system. There is a place for this, and CNN is not it. Are you trying to become the new Faux News?

    April 21, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  15. Thomas

    So how come your god did not tip off Jesus about Judas? I thought your god was all knowing.

    April 21, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Conguero

      He did, and He is.

      April 21, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • WWRRD

      Silly Thomas, your knowledge of the Bible is minimal. Jesus knew exactly what Judas would do. He told him at the last supper. " Now go and do what you must". Jesus didn't want to be saved. He knew it was his final week when he entered Jerusalem. He wasn't concerned with saving himself. He was concerned with saving humanity.

      April 21, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • tom

      Gues you didn't read the part in Luke 22:21-22 that was quoted in the story.

      April 21, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • John

      In my opinion, Jesus to Jerusalem with the entire events planned. He knew, it was Gods plan, Judas was the an important part of that plan. All things must have happened to bring about the salvation act, the crucifixion of Christ. It wasn't a matter of prevention, as Jesus said to Peter when Peter said we must prevent your being killed, be gone Satan. The evil ting that would have occurred would have been Jesus not dieing and the cross and bring ever lasting reconciliation to the world as was Gods plan. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

      April 21, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  16. jdonaldson

    Thank googness for the bible....what would semi-retarded Americans fuss about otherwise?

    April 21, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Anonymous

      they would adopt some other myth.

      April 21, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • HeavenSent

      A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

      Proverbs 29:23


      April 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  17. Walker

    Here's a thought – Judas, completely dedicated and an ardent follower, may have heard all of the rumblings about a coming "Messiah" and might well have decided to push the issue by ratting on Jesus in order to PROVE that he was the Messiah – never pondering for a moment that the unthinkable could happen (Jesus would end up dead) – and once he saw what he had done in the name of blind faith and fervor, he went out and did himself in. Not too far fetched at all, and it seems to suggest a motive that is congruent with his prior actions. The 30 pieces of silver – I think it was something that was added later to the story... Oh, and as for Heaven & Hell – I don't believe in either of them as described by nearly every prelate – but I DO believe there's good on the other side – wherever the hell that is.... 🙂

    April 21, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  18. waterman

    It is hard to believe that in 2011, people take these religious fables so very seriously. Actually, it is not hard to believe.

    April 21, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

      Proverbs 26:12


      April 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  19. Enmei

    Without Judas, there would be no crucifixtion, no Catholic Church. He was the instrument, as much as Jesus himself. Take it from there,.

    April 21, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • RichG

      Yes, so we should give thanks to the almighty Judas!

      April 21, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  20. PJ

    Aside from the fact that Jesus is a complete and total fiction; let's try thinking for a change. If Christ DOESN'T die on the Corss there is no redemption and no Christianity. If Christ doesn't get crucified, he does not die for our sins. If one is the Child of God, you, hey, know everything that happens before it happens – simple logic, Judas was setup from th' git go or in on the whole thing for the Salvation of Humanity. By your OWN beliefs and your OWN "History", Judas simply played a part he had no control over whatsoever. But then, this would be rational thought- something Christians don't do and aren't very good at. What do you expecct of people who sing at a dead Jewish zombie so they can live forever? Freaks.

    April 21, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Kev

      good one.

      April 21, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Believer

      wow your ignorance is beyond imagination.

      Anyway there is no hell, and no human being can reside in heaven

      April 21, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • gdouglaso

      Name calling and abuse is not reasoned debate.

      April 21, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

      Proverbs 26:5


      April 22, 2011 at 1:59 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.