JUDAS WAS SAVED AND LOST HIS SALVATION
JUDAS WAS NOT ETERNALLY DOOMED TO DESTRUCTION TO FULFILL PROPHECY AS THERE WAS NO OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECY ABOUT JUDAS
By Jesse Morrell
An excerpt from the book, “The Natural Ability of Man: A Study on Free Will & Human Nature.”
To Order: Click Here
Both Peter and Judas were disciples of the Lord. Therefore, they both left all to follow Jesus (Lk. 14:33). They both picked up their cross (Lk. 14:27) and even loved Jesus more than their own family (Lk. 14:26).
Judas and Peter were both picked by Jesus specifically to cast out devils, heal the sick, and preach the gospel (Matt 10:1-27). No doubt Jesus would not pick unsaved men for such a task! Jesus put his public approval upon these men when he picked them to be His Apostles and commissioned them to preach His gospel.
Jesus even said that Judas’ and Peter’s names were written in the Lambs book of life (Lk. 10:20), that they were one of His sheep (Matt. 10:1-4, 16), that they had received His truth (Matt 10:1-4, 8), that their Father was God (Matt 10:1-4, 20), and that they both had a throne in Heaven upon which they would judge Israel (Matt. 19:28; Lk. 22:30). Yet, at one point, Jesus called Judas a “devil” (Jn. 6:70) and even called Peter “Satan” (Matt. 16:23).
Peter came to deny the Lord three times (Matt. 26:34). Peter was in danger of going to hell because Jesus had warned “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mk. 8:38). And Jesus also said, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:33). If Peter had died in his sin, Jesus Christ would have been ashamed of him before all of Heaven and would have publicly denied him.
The fact that Jesus said to Peter “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat… when thou art converted, strength thy brethren” (Lk. 22:31-32) shows that Peter was no longer saved during his denial of Christ. The good news is that Peter had repented of his sin and was restored to Jesus Christ. Three times Peter denied Christ, so three times Christ asked Peter if He loved him (Jn. 21:15-17), thus restoring him from his backsliding.
Like Peter, Judas also decided to backslide from faithful devotion to Jesus. Judas began to steal money from the group (Jn. 12:6) and he even came to betray the Lord (Mk. 14:10). Jesus knew from the very beginning of Judas’ plot that he would betray Him (Jn. 6:64). But the Bible says that Judas was, at one point, a trusted friend of Jesus (Ps. 41:9; Jn 13:18). This explains why Judas kept the money (Jn 13:29). If Jesus trusted Judas as a friend, Judas must have been trust worthy at that time. Betrayal implies, presupposes, or takes for granted former loyalty, friendship, or trust. If Judas was not formerly a loyal and trust friend of Jesus, he could not have betrayed Him. If Judas was not a loyal and trusted friend, who was a genuine follower of Him, He would not have chosen Him to preach the gospel, heal the sick, or cast out devils in the first place. Judas became a devil (Jn. 6:70), but he was not always a devil, for Jesus asked, “How can Satan cast out Satan?” (Mk. 3:23).
Dan Corner said, “Judas was once a saved man who preached the gospel, healed the sick, and then went astray and ended up in eternal fire…”45 John Fletcher said, “Judas was sincere, when Christ chose him to the apostleship.”46 Chrysostom said, “Judas was at first a child of the kingdom and heard it said to him with the disciples, ‘You shall sit upon twelve thrones’ but at last he became a child of hell…”47 Ambrose said, “For both Saul and Judas were once good…Sometimes they are at first good, who afterward become and continue evil; and for this respect they are said to be written in the book of life, and blotted out of it.”48
Through his transgression, Judas fell from his apostleship (Acts 1:25). Even though Jesus told Judas that He was shedding His blood for him (Lk. 22:14-20), in the end, it would have been better for him to have never been born (Mk. 14:21). Judas lost his apostleship and lost his salvation because he sinned and was not restored through repentance as Peter was.
Calvinists, on the other hand, have taught that Judas was not saved but was “doomed to destruction to fulfill the Scriptures.” The only actual prophecy about Judas are the one’s given by Christ, which He gave shortly before the betrayal occurred, after He saw these events unfolding (Mk. 26:21). It is worth noting that there was absolutely no Old Testament prophecy about Judas at all which he had to fulfill. Not a single Old Testament prophecy ever mentioned Judas or Christ’s betrayal.
Usually Acts 1:16 is referred to in an attempt to say otherwise, but a closer examination reveals that this is not the case. “Men and brethren, this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus” (Acts 1:16). And what Scripture needs to be fulfilled? That somebody needed to betray Jesus? No! Peter said, “For it is written in the book of Psalms, let his habituation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his brishoprick let another take” (Acts 1:20). This was no prophecy about Judas’ betrayal that needed to be fulfilled. The Scripture that Peter said needed to be fulfilled was that somebody need to take Judas’ place. Therefore, “Matthias… was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:26).
The Scripture Peter referred to was not a prophecy about Judas, as the original passages speak in the plural but Peter modified them to the singular. Ps. 69:25 says let “their habituation” be desolate, but Peter changes it to “his habituation…” It says “let none dwell in their tents…” Peter was not quoting from a prophecy about Judas, since he had to change the passage to apply it to Judas, and since he was actually merging two difference Scriptures together. He referenced Ps. 69:25 about his habituation being desolate, and referenced Ps. 109:8 about another taking his office. Peter merged these two verses together and applied them to the current situation because there was a vacancy amongst the apostles that needed to be fulfilled.
What needs to be understood is that in Hebrew culture, they applied Scriptures to applicable situations just as a Christian might use a Psalm to describe their day, an experience they are going through, or to describe how they are feeling. The Hebrews used the Scriptures in the same manner. The Scriptures were indeed “fulfilled” in these situations, but not prophetically. They were fulfilled through parallelism. Scriptures were “fulfilled” by Judas through similarity or applicability.
These are known as “analogous fulfillments.” Hebrew writers would take Old Testament passages, which were specifically about Old Testament events, and apply them to New Testament events because of similarity. This is done by the Hebrew writer Matthew who applied Hos. 11:1 which talked about God calling Israel out of Egypt and he applies it to Jesus Christ in Matt. 2:15. Jesus also applied Ps. 41:9, which was talking about David’s betrayal by his trusted friend and counselor Ahithephel, and applied it to his own situation with Judas in Jn. 13:18.
It was not that these New Testament events were prophetic fulfillments of these Old Testament passages, but that these events did fulfill these passages through similarity or applicability. Another example is how Matthew applies the passage of thirty pieces of silver which is found in Zech. 11:12-13 and applies it to Judas’ betrayal in Matt. 27:9, when the original passage has nothing to do with Judas or the betrayal of Christ.
Jesus, as a Hebrew, used the Scriptures the same way. Jesus Christ said, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (Jn. 17:12). Jesus did not say which Scripture it was that was fulfilled, but we know that since there were no prophetic passages regarding Judas in the Old Testament, the Scriptural fulfillment Jesus referred to must have been that of fulfillment through similarity or applicability.
Regarding the phrase “that it might be fulfilled,” Dr. S. T. Bloomfield said that “this Scriptural expression sometimes means that such a thing so happened that this or that passage would appear quite suitable or applicable to it…”49 Moses Stuart said that “the New Testament writers often used Old Testament phraseology, which originally was applied in a very different connection. And they do this because such phraseology expresses, in an apt and forcible manner, the thought which they desired then to convey.”50 Dr. Edward Robinson said, “The phrase is often used to express historical or typical parallelisms.”51
These type of passages are known as ecbatic as opposed to telic. L. D. McCabe explained the difference. He said, “The telic use implies purpose, determination, prediction, and foreordination, while the ecbatic use implies only consequence, parallelism, application, or mere illustration.”52 The betrayal of Judas was not therefore a foreordained event which was necessary in order to fulfill prophecy, but Judas’ betrayal was his own free choice which fulfilled Scripture through parallelism.
As already shown, the Scriptures plainly teach that Judas was a genuine disciple or follower of Christ who fell from his apostleship and lost his salvation through his sin. To teach otherwise is to simply misrepresent or misunderstand the Scriptures. Jesus Himself said that the Father gave Judas to Him but that He had lost him (Jn. 17:12). Judas chose to be a disciple (Lk. 9:23; 14:27), then Jesus chose him to be an apostle (Lk. 6:13; Jn. 6:70), but then Judas fell from his apostleship by his choice to transgress (Acts 1:25). Judas lost both his salvation and apostleship through sin.
As the Bible says, “He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die” (Prov. 19:16). Paul said that if a believer violates their conscience, even by simply eating meat offered to idols when they believe it is wrong, that they commit “sin” and are therefore “damned” (Rom. 14:23). If a person chooses to do something which they believe is wrong in their conscience, even if it isn’t wrong, it shows that their heart isn’t right with God. They have a disobedient and rebellious will toward God.
Whenever a man does what He knows or believes is wrong, His own conscience condemns Him. And if our own heart condemns us because we are in conscious rebellion, how much more does God condemn us because He is greater than our hearts and knows all things (1 Jn. 3:20).
That is why Paul said that those believers who do what they believe to be wrong are in danger of being among those who “perish” (1 Cor. 8:11). What can we conclude from this but that a believer can in fact lose their salvation through sin? Paul was clearly teaching that those who are saved can still become damned and those with eternal life can still perish, if they choose to sin and become sinful in their hearts.
An excerpt from the book, “The Natural Ability of Man: A Study on Free Will & Human Nature.”
To Order: Click Here