Article # six: The Twelfth
Judas Iscariot ate with, traveled with, listened to, worked with and admired the same Jesus as the eleven, yet now they live in two different worlds, one of continuous woe, the other unbroken joy.
Question # 1: Was Judas never attached to the “true vine” or was the branch once attached and became detached?
J E S U S : Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit (that stops bearing) He cuts away….. If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a (broken-off) branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned. (John 15:2,6 Amp)
It seems Jesus is saying there are branches once abiding in Him that are no longer attached. It is quite possible Judas was such.
Question # 2: How many fit into the category of “does not bear fruit (that stops bearing)”?
In my opinion, many. If there were fifty new converts in a room, all zealous to serve their new-found Master, several will eventually stop bearing good fruit altogether, a few will bear much, most will bear little. Those bearing little fruit will not be cut from “the vine”; they will make it to heaven. However, there will be a day when they will see their large stack of “wood, hay, straw” burned by fire.
Question # 3: Did Judas (or will Judas) make it to heaven?
J E S U S : Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born. (Mat. 26:24)
Conclude for yourself if Judas is in heaven or….. somewhere else.
A large portion of the gospel churches are taught “once saved, always saved” (eternal security). That would imply Judas was never saved. However Christ’s language seems to indicate otherwise. Since Judas “betrayed” Christ he must have been relationally attached.
Also, there is a growing number who believe people like Judas will be included in “the restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21) and others say, no, “the restoration of all things” is limited to that “which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets” (same verse). It does seem if Judas were one day to be restored the words of Christ – “It would have been good for that man if he had not been born” – would be less than true. (Even if it took Judas a million years to be restored, he would have a billion years plus to enjoy heaven.)
Jesus taught (at the sermon of the mount) the wise man is he who hears His words and builds his life upon those words. The eleven were wise. And Jesus taught the foolish man is he who hears but does not build on His words. Such was Iscariot. They who bear but little fruit are somewhere between wise and foolish, wise to respond partially, foolish to not give themselves over fully to the Master’s words of instruction, reproof, correction.
Branches who bear less and less fruit have reason to be nervous. One day little might become none, the “vinedresser” will come with His pruning shears, and soon those “branches will be gathered up, and thrown in the fire, and….. burned.”
Question # 4: Why did Judas betray Jesus?
It seems Judas had more confidence in the wisdom of established leadership than in Christ. Their words had preeminence over His words. Judas was a branch more attached to a counterfeit vine than “the true vine.”
In my opinion, Joe and Jill Average Evangelical are more attached to christianity than Christ. Loyalty is toward His, not Him.
A. W. T o z e r : Among the gospel churches Christ is now in fact little more than a beloved symbol. (God Tells the Man Who Cares)
A. W. T o z e r : The cross is her official flag, but in the week-by-week services of the church and the day-by-day conduct of her members someone else, not Christ, makes the decisions. (God Tells the Man Who Cares)
C h a l l e n g e : Dig a little deeper, pray more passionately, surrender totally, spend more time in the Bible, praise more fervently, abide more fully.
P r a y e r : Father, we make an official prayer request, made official because we ask in the name of Christ Jesus: More of Your Holy Spirit! Without Him we can’t. With Him we are able. And God, anoint this article. (And hopefully the reader says, “Amen!”)