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Friday, April 10, 2020

Where is Judas?

This will not be an extensive study on Judas. To be honest, I'm not sure of his eternal fate, but if I were pushed, I'd be on the side of arguing Judas has resurrection life.

I want to look at this issue by examining two opposite ends of the spectrum in Christendom: The Papacy and the (as far as I can tell, their About Us page doesn't have anything about them I can find) Reformed Anabaptist folks at Pulpit and Pen.

As is my practice, I will link the referenced article so you can read it for yourself. I do this as a courtesy, in the name of fairness, and because I try to treat others as I wish to be treated.

  • On the Papacy Side: Judas is in Heaven
  • On the Reformed Side: Judas is being tortured by God with fire "in his own place."

Anybody familiar with this blog knows what I believe about the pagan, blasphemous belief concerning God torturing people with fire. I'll post a sampling of links to related articles at the end of this brief post. So let me pull back the lens to quickly dispense with both arguments.

No one is in Heaven except God and very few believers have that as their hope. In fact, I am of the opinion that no one has actual "heaven" as his hope. We just covered this topic in a recent entry. We see in scripture those who inherit the Earth. We see those who have a Kingdom on Earth. We see those who will reside in the New Jerusalem, which does come down from heaven, but it settles on earth and sky. Finally, we see a small company who have blessings and hope in the "far above the heavens" or "in heavenly places."

As for Judas being in "his own place," let's look at that passage. It is found in Acts 1 connected to the selection of Matthias to replace Judas. The article relies heavily on commentaries. I am not opposed to quotations (I use them if something is worded well), but they are not authoritative. And many are tainted (as is Strong's concordance, which I use) by the traditions of men.

Here is an excerpt:

Acts 1:25 makes it clear…

That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 
Barnes Notes Commentary says, “The expression “to go to his own place” is one which is used by the ancient writers to denote “going to an eternal destiny.” Thus, the Jewish Tract, Baal Turim, on Numbers 24:25, says, “Balaam went to his own place, that is, to Gehenna,” to hell. Thus, the Targum, or Chaldee Paraphrase on Ecclesiastes 6:6, says,” Although the days of a man’s life were two thousand years, and he did not study the Law, and do justice, in the day of his death his soul shall descend to hell, to the one place where all sinners go.” Thus, Ignatius in the Epistle to the Magnesians says, “Because all things have an end, the two things death and life shall lie down together, and each one shall go to his own place.” The phrase his own place means the place or abode which was suited for him, which was his appropriate home.”

First, their reliance on extra-biblical texts for a ministry which seems to hold the Textus Receptus and the King James Bible as the "superior" and most reliable texts is odd. They defer to "Baal Turim" for Numbers 24:25? Jacob ben Asher? Really? And then defer to the Targum paraphrase for Eccl 6:6? Well, it makes sense if you realize we're talking about mystical and allegorical works as tradition's "hell" is pagan.

The KJV reads:

And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place: and Balak also went his way. 
-Num 24:25

Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place? 
- Eccl 6:6

Yes, we do all go to "one place." ALL of us. We go to Sheol, Hades, Hell. That is, biblical "hell" (Hades), not Greek Mythology's "hell." It is a state of being rather than a place. In a nutshell, the dead are dead. All the dead.

What sayeth the Textus Receptus (Hebrew, right to left)?
 וַיָּ֣קָם בִּלְעָ֔ם וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ וַיָּ֣שָׁב לִמְקֹמֹ֑ו וְגַם־בָּלָ֖ק הָלַ֥ךְ לְדַרְכֹּֽו׃ פ -Number24:25
וְאִלּ֣וּ חָיָ֗ה אֶ֤לֶף שָׁנִים֙ פַּעֲמַ֔יִם וְטֹובָ֖ה לֹ֣א רָאָ֑ה הֲלֹ֛א אֶל־מָקֹ֥ום אֶחָ֖ד הַכֹּ֥ל הֹולֵֽךְ׃ - Eccl 6:6

I'll leave you to do your own translating. But I can tell you this, you will not find what is found in the corrupted versions quoted by Pulpit & Pen. I reference again their article.

Barnes Notes Commentary says, “The expression “to go to his own place” is one which is used by the ancient writers to denote “going to an eternal destiny.” 

Even if I accepted this as being accurate (in regard to eternal destiny), it's nonsense. We do not see resurrection yet. Until that day, all who die go to the grave. It is only in resurrection that we experience immortality (1 Cor 15:54). The dead go "to the same place" as we just saw in Ecclesiastes 6:6. And what do we do with the following verses?

So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there... And the ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months. And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the Lord? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place.
-1 Samuel 5:11; 6:1-2

Note: I'm not breaking down the Hebrew here, I'm simply relying on the King James.
I would contend that Acts 1:25 does make something clear, but that something is not that God is torturing his friend. What it makes clear is that Matthias took his place among the twelve apostles. This was necessary as the Kingdom in Israel will have 12 thrones. That kingdom (its restoration) was still possible in the Book of Acts as the Lord taught his disciples for 40 days after his resurrection and after he opened their minds (Acts 1:6) and just as Peter preached to Israel after Pentecost (Acts 3:17-26).

Acts 1:25, is about Matthias not Judas. You have to understand the parenthetical.

And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship (from which Judas by transgression fell), that he [Matthias] might go to his own place.” And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles." 

Matthias went to his own place among the Apostles just as the ark in 1 Samuel went to its own place in Jerusalem. Judas doesn't have "his own place." That makes no sense in the context. Judas fell from his place among the Apostles. Man puts him in tradition's "hell" and thus they mangle that verse.

The Apostles in Acts 1 are asking God to show them which of the two he has chosen so that the chosen one can take his rightful place.

Pausing to catch our breath... So, Judas is neither in heaven (as no one is except the Lord currently) and he is not in tradition's hell. So what is his fate?

Judas was chosen by the Lord. He performed miracles. He is called the Lord's "friend." Do we not believe that eternal life is a free gift by faith? Are we now to argue that Judas lost that gift by his works? 

The only legitimate argument for Judas not having life (we're ignoring the mythology of fiery torment) is that he never placed his faith in the Lord. But I don't know that. Christians are capable of horrible wickedness. So I don't know Judas' fate. Why men must have him being tortured is a reflection of our wicked, pagan, vengeful blood-lust.