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. dave

    no souls, no heaven, no hell, so where is judas? dead is where he and jesus and everyone else that is no longer among the living resides, that's it, just dead. and for those of you that insist that jesus IS alive, drag his ass out here, I want to see him!

    April 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Kevin K in Texas

      oooo, ooooo, dave... if they bring him to your house can i come... i love poking dead things with a stick...

      April 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  2. Artist

    I see there is no shortage of nutjobs today

    April 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  3. Kevin K in Texas

    all you religous crazies that are quoting things from the bible are nuts... its a book written by man who said that it was thru the hand of god... lol, this makes me laugh.. i will now annoint myself in oil and smoke some of whatever it was they smoked back then and make a religous book... and will then claim that it was the hand of my god that wrote it... then i will impose my outlandish view on the rest of the world.. cause countless millions of live to be killed in numerous wars about it.. morons

    April 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  4. ken

    may I use the Bible to spell out the obvious? So what did Jesus say about judas (WHO IS IN HELL), hmmmmmm lets look. John 17:12 "While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition(JUDAS), so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. i WILL TELL YOU WHO IS IN HELL. EVERY ONE WHO HAS NOT REPENTED AND BELIEVED IN THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD. NO JESUS NO LIFE.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  5. Kevin K in Texas

    All you religous nutcases are quoting things from a book written by man, crazy men that just SAY that it was done thru the hand of god... well lets just all annoint ourselves with oil and smoke some herb and write ourselves a new book on god...lol weirdos...

    April 21, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  6. Richard

    There is no heaven, hell, or God, so I don't see why we're wasting our time thinking about it.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  7. Guardian Angel

    God is love but he will not force you to love him. He gave you free will and if you choose hell he will let you go.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  8. Ben Dover

    It doesn't matter. Judas NEVER existed.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Then plz tell us who made him up? You can prove that someone created his story right?

      April 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  9. Madtown

    Christine there is only one true path and that is through Jesus. The rest will burn for eternity being blotted out. God will spit out those that reject him. Choose his love or suffer forever. For those that are going after me, I know you will suffer in the end and I will be smiling.

    Here it is folks, the true face of the fundamental christian. Full of hate, full of spite, full of judgement. Devoid of love, devoid of logic. Note the irony in the posting about "choosing his love", then saying that they will "smile" upon others suffering. The only thing further from God than these beliefs, is to not believe at all.

    If there is a hell, it's this type of person that will headline there.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Seeker

      I only saw one "christian" on here who said that. Why choose the one over the many others as "The face of Christianity"

      April 21, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Artist

      Not sure if you know this chic but she is a gag

      April 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      I have a very good reason to believe that this person who calls IT-self HeavenSent is NOT who is claiming to be.

      I believe that here on this blog, as well as other ones where Christians are blogging, there are people so full of hate toward Christianity and for those of us who speak the Word of God without watering it down, that they go around impersonating Christians, using their names, and writing hateful, obnoxious things, so to throw mud on Jesus Christ and those who are testifying of Him, causing people to view us as Madtown described it in his/her post above.....

      I know what I'm saying is true, and it is happening, because they did it to me also! A person has to stoop pretty low to become that deceitful and full of hate!

      But then, we should not be surprised, should we?! Jesus said they would hate us, because they hated Him first....

      April 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  10. Bibletruth

    Is Judas in heaven or in hell? Neither. He is exactly what the bible says all who die, saved or lost, are: dead. Without life. Without thought, knowledge, awareness, praise, without anything that would be attributed to a living being.

    Not until the ressurrection will Judas live again. In His case he comes up in the second resurrection with all the rest of the lost, only to recieve the wages of sin which is eternal death. The punishment of eternal death (that is, eternal non-life) is accomplished in the lake of fire. There the lost and Satan and the fallen angels are brought to ashes and none of them shall ever be anymore. And the universe or comos or creation shall be 100% free of and done with the curse of sin.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Ah....someone is digging into the Tanakh. Nice reference to Eccl.

      April 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  11. AtheistSteve

    I wholeheartedly deny the existence of the Holy Spirit. There ...the one unforgiveable sin. Now I will burn forever in hell.
    Blasphemy is a ridiculous reason for eternal torment. The entire concept of God is distasteful and I see no reason to believe religion is anything other than a man made control system.
    Now all you believers can revel in my sorry fate...I'm gonna enjoy a nice cup of tea.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Actually, to blasphemy against the Holy Ghost might require true faith first, so being an unbeliever and saying might not mean nothing. Enjoy your tea.

      April 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Oh but I did believe at one time. I was raised roman Catholic and didn't become an atheist until well into my 20s.

      April 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Nurse Lisa

      why not have a nice read with your tea – – godandscience (.) org – answers for atheists tab.

      April 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Completely agree, AthiestSteve. So nice to hear a voice of reason amid the Christian nutbar chorus.

      April 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Some could also say that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is something other than speaking a blasphemy. Blasphemy could be denying the spiritual movement of the HS on one's soul/life. If that would be the case, it would be on a much more personal level than what one could declare here.

      April 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @PeterVN- What reason? He is merely giving his opinion as we all are.

      April 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  12. Annie

    According to Dante, Judas is in the deepest level of hell reserved for betrayers. As far as betrayals go, Judas giving up Jesus for 30 pieces of silver takes the cake.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  13. Jack C

    Jesus said – Some say that Judas should be honored because salvation would not have taken place if not for his existence. Certainly not true. Judas is in hell and there will be no end to his sentence.
    See how Judas dealt with Jesus his years on earth – read the Poem of the Man God – a journey presented to us as a great gift but not accepted. Not one word contrary to scripture.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  14. Nurse Lisa

    we can't know where Judas ended up, but I'm confident about where I'll end up. Are you?

    April 21, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Yup... six feet under, pushing up daisies... like most others on this continent...

      April 21, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  15. kls817

    Yes, only God knows. But I would not be suprised if he were in heaven. This was one of Jesus' friends and he is very forgiving. And of course his act of betrayal was pre-ordained. Maybe he has suffered enough.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  16. Possum

    Judas would be in Heaven, for doing the predetermined dirty work of Jesus and God. If God gave humans Free Will then broke the promise, by compelling Judas to betray (or merely, be the appointed accuser/betrayer) then, Judas would be rewarded for being a puppet in the plan and fulfilling the Will of God. This very line of thinking is also how cults convince their followers into martrydom; a great reward awaits all who surrender to the Will of ____. Had Judas not obeyed, surely, he'd be in Hell. This very line of thinking is the fear tactic to control the masses. Perhaps, "Damned if you do, damned if you don't." was the fate of Judas. If that was the case with Judas, then, he got robbed – and so will everyone else.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • DCH

      Judas had the free will to betray Jesus or not. If he had chosen not to, then one of the other 12 disciples, or perhaps one of the many disciples not mentioned by name, would have. The prophecies concerning the deception of Jesus didn't mention a specific name, so it could have been anyone with a free will to do so. This doesn't answer the question of whether or not Judas is in heaven (I wouldn't be so bold as to presume anyone is or is not in heaven. I'll be amazed to be in heaven myself, except by the grace of God.) but Judas definitely had the free will to betray Jesus or not.

      April 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  17. Nurse Lisa

    writer of article says the minute Judas knew what he had done he felt remorse. Believing in Jesus as messiah doesn't make one immune to sin, just forgiven. How can any modern man with only access to texts translated multiple times over centuries into different languages be certain what a historical man did or didn't believe? How can any human hope to know another's heart? Someday each will know where he ended up, because they themselves will either be where Judas is or not.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  18. Scott

    Also, in John 17, Jesus said of the disciples, "While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by[c] that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled." This and the verse from John 6 seem pretty conclusive that Judas was not saved. But only God knows....

    April 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • noodlez

      "None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled" may actually refer to Jesus, as by dying he fullfilled scripture.

      April 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  19. Scott

    Is it possible that because Jesus said, in John 6:70, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” that this gives us reason to believe that Judas was NOT a believer in the sense of being born again? And....do you really not know how a man comes to be saved? I can share that with you if you are interested. God Bless.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Lycidas

      But of course Judas, like the others, had free will to believe or not.

      He could have even believed as best as he could and fell from the faith.

      April 21, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  20. WVLady63

    Taking your own life is a sin. Obviously he is in Hell.

    April 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Christine

      Where does it say in the Bible that suicide is a sin? Oh, I know. Right next to where it says it is a sin to live with someone before marriage. In other words, IT DOESN'T!

      April 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Name Required

      Judas isn't in hell because he killed himself. He is in hell because he believed that God wouldn't forgive him.

      April 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Nurse Lisa

      to Christine – it may not be wise to say the bible doesn't say something if you haven't bothered to look. Have you not heard "thou shalt not kill" that includes self too. Hebrews 13:4 says Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Thankfully many understand the blessing of forgiveness when we accept Jesus as Lord.

      April 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • poolski

      so by that logic everyone who sins goes to hell? which would be correct. But I think you might be missing the part where Jesus came and paid for those sins.....

      April 21, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Rick

      Nurse Lisa: Thankfully, many people don't need this supposed forgiveness

      April 21, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
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