A question that came up a few weeks ago at a Bible Study we attend and then being snowed in a few day later started me writing and pondering. The discussion was about Judas, the disciple who betrayed Christ and the different inputs made me question myself and look into what the church teaches. Discussion: Is Judas in Hell?
This is what I found out and also did a little more research on my own.
Is Judas in Hell? The Catholic Church teaching on this question is; the church has no opinion and uses Matthew 7: 1-3 Stop judging that you may not be judge. For as you judge so will you be judged, and the measure will be measured out to you.
When I learned about the Catholic Church’s answer to this question, I wanted to understand more about this matter. I then went to some Catholic websites to get a bigger picture. The following are discussions going on in these sites. Seems other folks have the same question. The questions are answered by the staff of Catholic Answers.
Catholic Answer website: www.catholicanswer.com
Since Judas's betrayal of Jesus likely was a grave sin, why did Jesus give him Communion at the Last Supper? Or had Judas left the table by that point?
If Judas did receive Communion—as Scripture appears to indicate (Lk 22:19-23)—then there may be any number of reasons why Christ allowed it even though he had already been plotting Christ’s betrayal (Lk 22:3-4). Two possibilities include: Christ may have hoped that the grace of Communion ultimately could save Judas’s soul. Judas did indeed feel remorse for what he did (Mt 27:3-4), although he chose the wrong means to demonstrate that remorse (Mt 27:5). Or perhaps Christ respected Judas’s free will, just as he respects our free will, and so did not deny Judas Communion even though he apparently did not have faith that it was Christ’s body and blood (Jn 6:66-71).
Since we know that the only sin that is not forgiven is the sin against the Holy Spirit, could Judas Iscariot have sought forgiveness instead of falling into despair and hanging himself?
Yes, of course. Bishop Fulton Sheen, in his book Life of Christ, devoted a chapter to the betrayal by Judas, contrasting it with the betrayal by Peter—with which it was similar in some respects—and concluding that the tragedy of Judas’s life was that even after the betrayal he could have been St. Judas Iscariot if only he had repented instead of despaired. The sin against the Holy Spirit, the one that cannot be forgiven, is the sin of final impenitence. God can forgive any repented sin, but man must repent of his sins before he can be forgiven. As only God can judge hearts, we cannot know whether Judas was impenitent to his very death, but we can know that he did not demonstrate the heroic virtue of Peter, who repented his betrayal of Christ rather than allow despair to consume him.
Did Judas go to hell?
Jesus said, "Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born" (Matt. 26:24). While this statement implies that Judas’s final destination was hell, it cannot be known whether or not he repented of his sins before his death, and so it cannot be said with certainty that he is in hell.
The reading below was on the same site:
In recent years there has arisen a movement that might be called "neo-universalism," according to which it may be that all men, without exception, go to heaven. Advocates of this movement often say things like, "The Church does not teach that anyone is in hell," and they cite statements from Church leaders and documents which sound—taken out of context—as if they teach this. If one reads the documents carefully, it is clear that the Church is not saying that no one at all is in hell but that it has not taught that any particular individual is in hell.
In Luke's Gospel, Jesus is asked, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" He replies by stating, "Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able" (Luke 13:23-24). Given the question that prompts it, Jesus' answer cannot be interpreted to mean anything other than that many will not be saved. There is nothing conditional about the question or Jesus' answer. He does not say, "If someone does this then he will be damned" or "Anyone who does this will be damned." He says that there are many who fail to enter—and the context is salvation.
Finally, although the Church does not teach that any particular individual is in hell, I believe that Scripture indicates that Judas Iscariot is in hell. (I acknowledge that other orthodox commentators may disagree on this point.) Jesus says, "The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had .not been born" (Matt. 26:24). If Judas ended up in heaven rather than hell, it would be difficult to see how it would have been better for him not to have been born. Going through any amount of temporal pain and disgrace is not worth comparing to the joys of heaven (Rom, 8:18), and, if Judas went to heaven, matters still came out infinitely to his benefit. Only if Judas went to hell, it seems to me, would it have been better for him not to have been born.
After searching the web I decided to look up scripture concerning this subject and find my conclusion in this topic.
What does scripture say about judging and judgment?
Matthew: 3: 28-29 Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.
Romans 14:13 Then let us no longer judge one another, but rather resolve never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
James 4:12 There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save or to destroy. Who then are you to judge your neighbor?
2 Tim. 4: 1-5 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word: be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient: convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to truth and will be diverted to myths.
1 Cor. 4:3 It does not concern me in the least that I be judged by you or any human tribunal; I do not pass judgment on myself; I am not conscious of anything against me, but I do not thereby stand acquitted; the one who judges me is the Lord.
Romans 2: 15-16 They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people’s hidden works through Christ Jesus.
What does scripture say about Judas?
Luke 22: 1- 5 Now the feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was drawing near, and the chief priest and the scribes were seeking a way to put him to death, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered into Judas, the one surnamed Iscariot, who was counted among the Twelve, and he went to the chief priests and temple guards to discuss a plan for handing him over to them. They were pleased and agreed to pay him money. He accepted their offer and sought a favorable opportunity to hand over to them in the absence of a crowd.
Luke 22 19- 22 Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body, which will be given up for you; do this in memory of me. And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying “This cup is the new covenant in my body, which will be shed for you. And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray me is with me on the table; for the Son of Man indeed goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.
Matthew 27 3- 9 Then Judas his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying: I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? Look to it yourself.” Flinging the money into the temple, he departed and went off and hanged himself. The chief priest gathered up the money, but said, “ It is not lawful to deposit this in the temple treasury, for it is the price of blood.” After consultation, they used it to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why that field even today is called Field of Blood. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet, “ And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of a man with a price on his head, a price set by some of the Israelites, and they paid it out for the potter’s field just as the Lord had commanded me.”
Acts 1 15- 20 During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers ( there was a group of about 120 in the one place). He said, “ My brothers, the scripture had to be fulfilled which the holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry. He bought a parcel of land with the wages of his iniquity, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle, and all his insides spilled out. This became known to everyone who live in Jerusalem, so that the parcel of land was called in their language ‘Akeldama,’ that is, Field of Blood. For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his encampment become desolate, and may no one dwell in it.’
My thoughts after looking at Catholic websites and the scriptures:
As we say at Mass: “Lord have Mercy, Christ have Mercy.” I cannot judge Judas any more than I can judge my neighbor. God is the JUDGE. I agree with the church teaching on this subject. I have no opinion. But, as I read the story of Judas in scripture it saddens me that a man who walked, talked and ate with our Lord could fall so far from grace. Showing me how important our Christian journey is and applying the scripture, Php 2:12-13 Therefore my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do not get me wrong here, I am a firm believer in Ehp. 2: 8 it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God prepared in advance, that we should live in them. Yes, Christ bought my salvation on Calvary. I cannot earn it, nor do I deserve it. Though this statement does not eliminate this scripture, James 2: 14-17 20-26 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and in lack of daily food and one of you say to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. 20-26 Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow (that is you ignoramus), that faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works and faith was completed by works and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘ Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’; and he was called the friend of God. You see that man is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and spent them another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead?
When I think of Judas’s life I conclude with these last scriptures, I ask for God’s grace and help so that I may apply them to my faith journey and use Judas’s story as a reminder:
Hebrew 10 : 26 If we sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains sacrifice for sins but a fearful prospect of judgment and a flaming fire that is going to consume the adversaries.
Hebrews 6: 4-6
For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift and shared in the holy Spirit and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then fallen away, to bring them to repentance again, since they are recrucifying the Son of God for themselves and holding him up to contempt.
Jesus’ own words in Matthew 24: 10-13 And then many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evil doing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.
Well sorry for the long winded reflection… That’s what happens, when I get snowed in and no place to run.
In Him, Julie