Recent Developments in the Eschatological Debate
Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr
Eschatology is so often abused today that it has become a source of positive embarrassment to the integrity of the Christian Faith and Biblical Christianity. Two insightful books documenting this dismal state-of-affairs are Dwight Wilson's
Armageddon Now and Francis Gumerlock's The Day and the Hour. A steady flow of recalculated cries for the end perennially rings out from the hollow shelves of Christian trinket stores. Even the smooth entering of a new millennium has not stalled the flow of the dispensational Chicken Littles. It would seem that all one needs in order to be a "prophecy expert" today is either a steady supply of Dapper Dan and access to television air time, or a computer graphics program and a money-hungry publisher. No new developments here!
Yet, despite such abuse, eschatology remains a vitally important aspect of Biblical revelation. Indeed, we should consider eschatology as the
whole movement of Biblical revelation rather than simply an individual
locus of systematic theology. As Walter Dumbrell has keenly noted: the entire flow of Scripture progresses "from creation to new creation by means of divine redemptive interventions."1 Eschatology is the message of all Scripture, the story of the outworking of redemption. Hence, a
careful study of eschatological developments within evangelical theology is an important task for the student of Holy Writ.
In this article I will mention three recent developments in the eschatological debate. I chose these for two reasons: they directly impact the
Chalcedon Report audience; and they are making a significant impact in broader evangelical circles. In the mid-1990s, Darrell L. Bock and C. Marvin Pate, two editors involved in Zondervan's CounterPoints series, approached me about these three matters, which are: (1) the radical transformations within dispensationalism; (2) the remarkable resurgence of postmillennialism; and (3) the re-emergence of orthodox preterism.
When Darrell Bock (then of Dallas Theological Seminary) called me in 1994 about joining with him in producing
Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (1999), he particularly mentioned his interest in distinguishing this new work from Clouse's
The Meaning of the Millennium (1977), now two decades old. He noted that it was now quite dated. Not only were three of the four authors deceased (Ladd, Boettner, and Hoekema), but the eschatological landscape had undergone fundamental changes (except for amillennialism, which is so bland and general as to be asking of prophecy: "Hey, bro! Wha's happnin?"). Bock surprised me when he noted that
neither classic dispensationalism nor historic premillennialism would be included (as in Clouse's work) due to the rising prominence of progressive dispensationalism. Furthermore, he requested that I present the re-invigorated postmillennial view which included theonomy and preterism.
Progressive dispensationalist Marvin Pate (of Moody Bible Institute) first called me in 1996 to see if I would be interested in contributing to
Four Views on the Book of Revelation. He specifically expressed his appreciation for my preterist writings, noting that they had influenced him in developing his own understanding of the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation. His
Doomsday Delusions favorably cited some of my works. Furthermore, he commented that the
Four Views book would present two dispensational views of Revelation: classic dispensationalism and progressive dispensationalism, noting that they fundamentally differ in their analysis of Revelation, the capstone of Biblical prophecy. Gone were the days of classic dispensational hegemony. Thus, progressive dispensationalism was asserting itself in the marketplace of ideas, and beginning to shake up the old-line dispensational establishment. And orthodox preterism was beginning both to gain a hearing and to be granted a seat at the table. No longer was the decked stacked against it.
These remarkable episodes in my own experience suggest to me the significance of the three matters I have chosen to highlight in this article.
The Radical Transformations within Dispensationalism
The newer form of dispensationalism is much more theologically astute than the naive sensationalism of its predecessor. It represents a giant step forward in theological discussion, making huge concessions to covenantal theology. In addition, its theologians are of much greater competence, men who are making serious contributions to evangelicalism in a wide range of theological fields.
Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock categorize three distinct forms of dispensationalism: (1) "Classic dispensationalism" includes the earliest phase of dispensationalism from the time of John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), through C. I. Scofield (1843-1921) up to and including Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952). (2) "Revised dispensationalism" began to percolate in the 1950s and 60s, reaching its full strength and addictive influence with Charles Ryrie's
Dispensationalism Today (1965) and the New Scofield Reference Bible (1967). In addition to Ryrie, noted proponents include J. D. Pentecost and J. F. Walvoord. Populist revised dispensationalists are presently in a state of denial over this transmogrification (and by "denial" I do not mean a river in Egypt). (3) "Progressive dispensationalism" began to emerge and take shape in the mid-1980s through discussion among thinking dispensationalists at the annual Evangelical Theological Society meetings. Leaders in this school of eschatological thought include Darrell L. Bock, Craig L. Blaising, and Robert Saucey.
Progressive dispensationalism is clearly not your father's dispensationalism (nor your favorite televangelist's). Radical changes distinguishing it from its antiquated forbears include:
(1) A rejection of simplistic literalism in hermeneutics. Progressive dispensationalists pretty much adopt a
genuine grammatical-historical-theological theory of interpretation like the rest of the evangelical world.
(2) A revision of the Israel-church distinction, allowing that Israel and the church are two peoples that would even continue into eternity; revised dispensationalism maintained that distinction only in terms of the earthly outworking of redemption.
(3) A breaking down of the walls of separation between the dispensations. Their dispensations are not discrete, unmixed time frames, but rather evolving stages of historical development. Contained within any particular dispensation are the seeds of the next dispensation so that the dispensations gradually
progress (hence the name). This allows that Christ is now enthroned as king in anticipation of His coming earthly-millennial rule.
Numerous additional issues could be highlighted. But these three are sufficient to establish a
radical (and welcome) transformation within dispensationalism.
Essential texts for studying the issues include:
Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock, eds.,
Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church: The Search for Definition (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992).
Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock,
Progressive Dispensationalism: An Up to Date Handbook of Contemporary Dispensational Thought (Wheaton, IL: Bridgepoint, 1993).
For a shrill revised dispensationalist response, see: Wesley R. Willis and John R. Master, eds.,
Issues in Dispensationalism (Chicago: Moody, 1994).
The Remarkable Resurgence of Postmillennialism
Contrary to popular opinion, postmillennialism has
never disappeared from the theological scene. Nevertheless, after suffering a radical decline in the early part of the twentieth century, it has experienced a remarkable, major, and notable renaissance in the past thirty years.
Three of the leading figures in keeping postmillennialism alive during the 1950s were Reformed writers, J. M. Kik (An Eschatology of Victory,
1975; actually a compilation of published articles from 1948, 1955, and 1961); Roderick Campbell (Israel and the New Covenant, 1954: Foreword by O. T. Allis); and Loraine Boettner (The Millennium, 1957). Boettner even participated in Clouse's
The Meaning of the Millennium four views book (1977) though his advanced age affected his argument.
Postmillennialism's recent resurgence has come about (largely) due to the publishing of postmillennial works in the 1970s and early 80s by the Banner of Truth in Britain and Christian Reconstructionists in America (through the Chalcedon Foundation and the Institute for Christian Economics). Key figures in this publishing revival were J. A. DeJong,
As the Waters Cover the Sea (1970), Iain Murray (The Puritan Hope, 1971), Erroll Hulse (The Restoration of Israel, 1982), R. J. Rushdoony (Thy Kingdom
Come, 1970; God's Plan for Victory, 1977), Gary North, and Greg L. Bahnsen (the latter two through articles in the
Journal of Christian Reconstruction).
As noted above, the revival of postmillennialism has gained wider recognition and more visible standing. The recent Zondervan publication of
Three Views of the Millennium and Beyond (1999) included my distinctly Reconstructionistic brand of postmillennialism in this broad market publication (it sold out of its first two printings in its first forty-five days). A flood of postmillennial books in the late 1980s and 1990s has inundated the evangelical landscape, including: John J. Davis'
Christ's Victorious Kingdom (1986), David Chilton's Paradise Restored (1987), North's
Millennialism and Social Theory (1990), Gary DeMar's Last Days Madness (1991), my
He Shall Have Dominion (1992), Alexander McLeod's Governor of the Nations (rep. 1993), Andrew Sandlin's
Postmillennial Primer (1997), Keith Mathison's Postmillennialism (1999), and Bahnsen's
Victory in Jesus (1999). A recent noteworthy "convert" to postmillennialism is R. C. Sproul, who invited me to speak on postmillennialism and preterism at his 1999 National Conference in Orlando.
The essence of postmillennialism (contrary to naive perceptions) is not its interpretation of Revelation 20, but rather, it is
optimism regarding the progress of the gospel in history before the end comes. Anyone who believes that the gospel of Jesus Christ will exercise a dominant influence in the affairs of men at some point in history is a postmillennialist whether he likes it or not (optimistic amillen-nialism is an oxymoron).
A development within the postmillennial tradition since the 1960s but becoming especially strong by the late 1980s is Christian Reconstructionism, involving "theonomic" ethics ("theonomy"= "God's law"). Theonomic postmillennialism (a feature of Christian Reconstructionism) combines the inter-advental gradualism of the modern generic variety of postmillennialism with the socio-political interests of the older Puritan form. The theonomic postmillennialist sees the gradual return to Biblical norms of civil justice as a consequence of widespread gospel success through preaching, evangelism, missions, and Christian education. The judicial-political outlook of Reconstructionism includes the application of those justice-defining directives contained in the Old Testament legislation, when properly interpreted, adapted
to new covenant conditions, and relevantly applied. With a core theological sub-structure firmly rooted in the absolute sovereignty of God (classic Calvinism), Christian Reconstructionists not only have a confident hope in the future (postmillennialism) but also a vision of
how that optimistic future will operate in the social and political arenas (theonomy).
Foundational texts for studying postmillennialism today include:
Greg L. Bahnsen, Victory in Jesus: The Bright Hope of Postmillennialism (Texarkana, AK: CMF, 1999).
Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.,
He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology (2d. ed.: Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1997).
Keith A. Mathison,
Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1999).
The Re-emergence of Orthodox Preterism
The word "preterist" is based on a Latin word praeteritus meaning "gone by,"
i.e., past. "Preterism" holds that many judgment prophecies of the New Testament came to pass in the first century, within the very generation of their utterance. Though these several prophecies were in the future when written, they are now in
Many mistakenly assume that evangelical preterism burst upon the eschatological scene through Reconstructionist publications, such as Chilton's
The Great Tribulation (1987), my The Beast of Revelation (1989), and DeMar's
Last Days Madness (1991) (all were former students of Bahnsen at Reformed Theological Seminary in the 1970s). Actually amillennialist
Jay Adams' The Time is at Hand (1966) was an (early) important seminal text that helped spark the (later) preterist revolution. It was even used by Bahnsen at RTS in his "History and Eschatology" course. Other pre-resurgence books include Campbell's
Israel and the New Covenant (1954), Kik's The Eschatology ofVictory (1975), and Cornelis Vanderwaal's
Search the Scriptures (1978).
Nevertheless, preterism has recently been
exegetically justified and evangelically popularized largely by Reconstructionist writers. And once again, major Christian publishers have recently helped fuel the debate: Thomas Nelson's release of Steve Gregg's
Revelation: Four Views: A Parallel Commentary (1996), Zondervan's Four Views on the Book of Revelation (1998), and Kregel's
The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? (1999). Gary DeMar is presently discussing a publishing venture with Thomas Nelson which would release even more preterist books in the broader market. Furthermore, R. C. Sproul has wholeheartedly adopted orthodox preterism and even published a major work on the subject:
The Last Days According to Jesus (1998).
Unfortunately, a distortion of preterism is currently gaining advocacy a view variously designated as "hyper-preterism" (Gentry), "Hymenaenism" (Sandlin), or "pantelism" (Jonathin Seriah). A cult-like enthusiasm fuels this unorthodox movement, which teaches that the total complex of end time events transpired in the first-century: the Second Advent, the resurrection, the rapture of the saints, and the great judgment. It is to preterism what hyper-Calvinism is to historic Calvinism: a theological pushing beyond Biblical constraints. This view is not supported by any creed or any council of the church in history.
A "Foreword" to one work from this movement inadvertently highlights the (all too typical) problem: "John [Noe] is not a professional theologian. He has had no formal seminary training, but that may be an advantage." Then again, lacking training in Biblical languages, careful study of exegetical principles, in-depth instruction in systematic theology, and formal schooling in historical theology may not be helpful at all. (This book by John Noe received a scathing review in the December, 2000,
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. Sadly, this review will dissuade some readers from even considering the orthodox root from which hyper-preterism mutated. I have had numerous letters from folks turning against preterism because of these bizarre excesses.)
The origins of this modern movement arise from and are fueled by many Christians either presently or previously within the Church of Christ sect (e.g., Max King, Tim King, Ed Stevens, and others). Some hyper-preterists have even become Unitarians; see Ed Stevens' own lamentation: "Wanda Shirk & PIE,"
Kingdom Counsel (April 1994-Sept. 1996): 3-17. Others have begun to apply the Biblical references about hell to the events of A.D. 70, thereby denying the doctrine of eternal punishment. See: Samuel G. Dawson, "Jesus' Teaching on Hell: A Place or an Event?" (Puyallup, WS: Gospel Themes, 1997). The theological structure of the movement appears to be continually mutating. Of course, such should be expected when the position decries creedal moorings and rejoices in being adrift on a sea of untrained theologues. (I guess the hyper-preterists are our gadfly-answers to the dispensationalist embarrass
ments such as Jack Van Impe and the LaLonde brothers.)
For helpful rebuttals to hyper-preterism, see:
Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology (2d. ed.: 1997), App. C.
The End of All Things (1999).
R. C. Sproul, ". . . in Like Manner,"
Tabletalk 24:12 (December 2000): 4-7.
Vern Crisler, "The Eschatological A Priori of the New Testament: A Critique of Hyper-Preterism,"
Journal of Christian Reconstruction 15 (Winter, 1998): 225-56.
Postmillennialism (1999), App. C.
Mathison is currently editing a multi-author response to the hyper-preterists. It should be complete in 2002.
Orthodox preterism is not so much an eschatological system as a hermeneutic tool. It recognizes the interpretive significance of: (1) time-frame indicators (e.g.,
Mt. 24:34; Mk. 9:1; Rev. 1:1, 3); (2) audience relevance (e.g., the Seven Churches enduring tribulation,
Rev. 1:4, 9); and (3) the possible non-literal character of apocalyptic imagery ("falling stars" may indicate "collapsing governments"). However, evangelical preterism refuses to allow one or two time-tied texts to become a black hole that sucks in all other texts that are merely similar. That is, preterism should not make the mistake of averring similarity entails identity, which is the informal logical fallacy known as converse accident (i.e., hasty generalization). That is, just because two texts are
similar does not mean they are speaking of the same events (consider the various "Day of the Lord" prophecies in the Old Testament).
Orthodox preterism views the great tribulation (Mt. 24:21 cp.,
v. 34) and Revelation's judgment passages (Rev. 1:1, 3; 22:6, 10) as being fulfilled in the first century. Consequently, preterism works nicely with (but is not
demanded by) postmillennialism.
Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness (Atlanta: American Vision, 1994).
Perilous Times: A Study in Eschatological Evil (Texarkana, AK: CMF, 1999).
R. C. Sproul,
The Last Days According to Jesus (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998).
1. William Dumbrell, The End of the Beginning
(Homebush West NSW, Austraia: Lancer, 1985), 161.
Rev. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. holds several degrees in theology, including a Th.D. from Whitefield Seminary. He is pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Huntington Beach, California, and has written several books and numerous essays. He can be contacted at KennethGentry@CompuServe.com
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- 14 Nov 2003
Nice to read these comments. I spent almost ten years fairly intensely studying the Bible "end-time" passages, phrases, words, etc, disregarding all commentaries, using only propere exegesis, referring to the original (non-Alexandrian) text. I have no recognised degree, I have no postional "ministry" (I teach high school maths in a Christian school) but have been led by the Holy Spirit (who leads us into truth) into the truth (which is His Word). I have submitted my thoughts and suppositions to the Word alone and arrived at full preterism - alone. I find it hard to have real fellowship when the defence is basicly "this is what we believe because this is what we believe." It is because I have cast off "creedal moorings" on a sea of "untrained theologues" (as you have so eloquently put) that I have been able to cast off a quagmire of defeatist dispensational doctrines. I am convinced that the Bible fully supports this view, and though no council discovers it, I will stand on it because I will be standing on the Word. Do not be so quick to reject a man's words becuase of what qualifications he doesn't have. Jesus faced and the disciples faced the same opposition. Most men have the incapacitating tendency to prefer position, status or popularity over integrity towards God's Word. Your brief mention of the "stars" is proof. Why cannot you say it does mean govwernments, rather than "maybe". Is it because such committment may require sacrifice or loss? Scriptures clearly show that these heavenly bodies were given to rule and to give light, so their prophetic use is clear. Confirmation of their prophetic use is seen in the imagery of Joseph's dreams. And in Deborah's song, "the stars in their courses fought against Sisera ..." Principalities in the spiritual realm were fighting. The parents of Joseph and his brothers knew exactly the implications because the symbolism was in their cultural-prophetic-spiritual heritage. They did not say "What do you mean?" They challenged the implication of Joseph's future rulership. This culture continued right through to Jesus' day, when He mentioned these "events" in Matthew 24, when Peter reiterated the words of Joel regarding the sun, moon, and stars. The heavens being shaken, the new covenant in Hebrews 12, the heavenly Jerusalem of Revelations - these are related to the establishment of God's mighty church, against whom the gates of hell would not prevail. The first century saw a complete removal of the old covenant authority system (Israel), and an establishing of the new covenant people - the church. Why else did the disciples connect the three questions together at the start of Matthew 24? Because they knew they were connected. The end of the age, the destruction of the temple, His coming - all within that generation. These words I write do not do justice to the depth of the topic addressed, but it may be a start to some communication. God bles you as you study His Word. Steve Jaunay, Whangarei, New Zealand.
- 19 Dec 2003
I am a partial preterist and can not accept what is refered to as consistent preterest for several reasons. One reason is the resurection which they claim took place in 70 AD. If the resurection has already taken place what happened to the church? If the body was to be spiritual then the church that existed on earth before 70 AD would have ceased to be found because they would all be gone or invisable. If no one was left to proclaim the gospel the church would by necessity cease to exist.And if the resurected were to have a physical body they would all still be here alive. That is enough to keep me from embracing full preterism but there is still more that is wrong with this system. They say that there is no end to the world as we know it and people will live and die here for eternity because they can find no scripture that proclaims an end of all things. Another thing is God;s election and predestination of people to be saved in a space of time. If there is no end of the number I don;t see how he could have numbered his people. And another reason why I can not accept the consistent preterist view is if all of the bible has been fulfilled we have no compelling word to guide us or no authoritative scripture left to us. Hugh Clark
- 03 Apr 2004
To any full preterist, Isaial writes about a time when the lion lays down with the kid and eats straw. The child reaching into the cobra den and not being harmed. What is your interpretation of these prophetic events? firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 06 Dec 2005
Dear Padre, I read your article regarding this false teachings on Hell. Even
though I know the Lord, there are still a few dogmas in Christiandom that I
am having a hard time to come to grips with. Even though, over the years I
have acquired a certain amount of revelation via the Holy spirit, I still
find some difficulties. One subject that has been quite baffling to me is
the subject of free will. It appears that most Churches theorize that man
can choose to be saved or choose to perish. However I discovered by
experience that we should be led by the Spirit to give us an overall
gereralized meaning of what the scriptures are really saying. If you would
offer some feedback regarding this topic, i would appreciate it very much.
However here is my theory, I believe that GOD is the real subject of divine
revelation, rather than man. Whatever He has told us in His Word concerning
any of His creatures is primarily a disclosure of Himself. The characters in
the Bible receive all their valu
Long before Judas was born, David, by the spirit of God, made several very
definite predictions concerning him (Psa. 69:25;109:8). He was to acquire a
piece of property, but neither he nor others were to dwell in it. He was to
have the place of a supervisor, but it was to be taken from him and given to
another (Acts 1:16-20). I doubt if Judas knew that these passages referred
to him. Nevertheless, in all fairness, the question may be asked, Was it
possible for Judas to avoid fulfilling these Scriptures? What do you think
Christine ? What does Catholicism think? You want to know what the Catholics
believe? They believe Judas was a big bad man that could have refused to
sell out our lord thus making God into a liar.But could he have made void
the Word of God? If these passages referred to the reader of these lines,
how would he feel about it? Is it right for God to bring a man into the
world under such a handicap? Centuries before he was born, Judas' fall was
fixed. It was inevita
Judas was one of the "elect" in a very special sense. Our Lord said "Do not
I choose [elect] you, the twelve, and one of you is an adversary?" (John
6:70). Christ knew from the beginning who would give Him up (John 6:64). Did
He, therefore, warn Judas of his awful danger? Did He put him out of the
apostleship? Did He do anything, so far as the record goes, to save him from
his terrible fate? Did He allow Judas to suspect what He thought of him? At
the very close, just before Judas went out, when the Adversary had already
put it into his heart to betray his Teacher (John 13:2), our Lord gave Judas
the morsel with His own hand. This act was usually considered a special
token of esteem. By such a sign our Lord indicated to John who it was that
was about to betray Him. Judas was not helped.
Can we not picture the scene? The eager disciples are altogether perplexed
by their Master's assertion that one of them should turn traitor. Not one of
them guessed that it was Judas. Does not this show that the betrayer had
done nothing out of the ordinary,so far as they could see? Indeed, they had
honored him by making him the treasurer of their little band. He was a thief
(John 12:6), but outwardly he must have been rather exemplary to pass so
long as one of the twelve apostles. Our Lord knew what he was about to do.
What did He say to stop him? "What you are doing, do more quickly." Does it
not seem almost incredible that our Lord actually hastens him on his
dreadful deed? (John 13:27).
Foreordained by God, one would suppose that Judas was born with the evil
urge in him which should lead to his downfall. But this was not the case. It
was true that he was not clean, as the other apostles were clean (John
13:10-11). Nevertheless, the impulse to lift up his heel against the One Who
fed him (John 13:19) and to betray Him to His enemies did not come from
within, but from without. I believe that all those hotshot Theologians out
there should be clear on this point. Judas, by himself, would not have
betrayed the Christ. It was put into his heart by the Adversary (John 13:2).
And again the question arises, Could he have helped himself? It was because
his heart was not depraved enough that the incentive had to come from
without. The great Adversary could not trust him to do it of his own
volition. Our Lord knew what was in his heart but does not lift His finger
to deter him from his awful deed. Rather, He hurries him in the doing of it.
It is a remarkable fact that Satan does not, as a rule, enter into, or
"possess" human beings. Padre, as you know, Demons make a practice of doing
this. It is a pity that "the devil" has been confused with "the devils" in
English versions. Otherwise the fact that Satan entered into Judas would
stand forth, as it should, as a most notable exception. The facts are clear.
Judas, by himself,( freewill ??) would not have betrayed Christ. The
arch-enemy did not entrust the task of coercing Judas to the hands of evil
spirits or demons, as would ordinarily be the case. He will employ such
demon spirits at the time of the end to mobilize earth's kings for the great
day of God Almighty (Rev. 16:14). But you will notice that this most
important task Satan did not leave to others, he wanted no screw ups.
Contrary to all precedent, he himself entered into the apostle and
transformed him into a traitor (Luke 22:3).
Padre, I do not wish to make out that Judas was a saint, or that he was not
a sinner like other men. In fact, i wish to add this to the influences of
which he was the victim. He was a thief. So we may well suppose that the
money he received for his treachery had some weight in inducing him to
transgress, I am not sure. The question is, whence came this tendency to
covetousness? Did he acquire if after "the years of accountability", or was
it born in him? Was it within his power to escape it? Like every other man,
he was a son of Adam, and, without having any choice in the matter, he
inherited mortality and sin and condemnation (Rom. 5:12,18), the lot of all
mankind. If any humanoid out there reads these lines has escaped this
tendency to sin, let him cast the first stone. Otherwise let him forbear.
Let us now count up the forces which were for Judas and those which were
against him. He doubtless had a conscience, for, when he realized what he
had done, he not only returned the money, but his regret was so overpowering
that he took his own life. This should show us what Judas himself thought of
his transgression. His own estimate of the sin that he had committed was
that he had forfeited his right to live. Had he been free to choose
beforehand, would he have done this deed, which he regretted to the death?
This regret seems to have come naturally out of his own heart, without
exterior constraint. We are not told of any special visitation of God's
spirit to bring on this change, to correspond to the entrance of the
Adversary, in order to make him sin. Judas himself, naturally, sinner though
he was, had an utter abhorrence of his own treachery.
But what of the forces against him? We have seen that his inheritance from
Adam was not sufficiently bad to compel him to commit such a capital crime.
So the Adversary cast it into his heart (John 13:2). Did you grab it ?This
is a strong expression. It was no mere suggestion, which could be repelled.
The heart is the very center and core of our being. Out of it are the issues
of life. But still stronger is the expression, "Satan entered into Judas"
(Luke 22:3). What would we have done if Satan was allowed to enter into us?
Oh I know, I can just hear someone in the crowd recoiling, Paul said that
"resist the Devil and he will flee from you" resisting the intimidation of
the Devil is a far cry from actual possesion believe me, Ive seen people
possesed. Judas was displaced. He was not acting naturally or normally. He
was not doing what Judas would do, but what Satan would do. To be sure, if
God's spirit had entered him first, then Satan could not have come. But
God's spirit had not t
The only One Who could withstand Satan, and Who could have prevented his
entrance into Judas, knew all about his plight, but did not make the
slightest effort to rescue him. Our Lord had cast out many demons from
strangers, but now that one of His own apostles is under the power of Satan
himself, He makes no attempt to expel him. On the contrary, immediately
after Satan had entered, He said, "What you are doing, do..." Can we imagine
Judas' impressions? His Lord singles him out for special attention, and
seals it with a dainty bit of food. Straightway he receives an irresistible
urge to go out and arrange to give Him up. Before his conscience can act, he
hears the voice of his Lord. Surely He knows his heart and is about to
expose his treachery! But no, Christ also urges him to go!
Padre, Why was it that our Lord gave him no helping hand? How could He send
him away at such a time for such a deed? Was He not, in effect, also against
Judas? Did not Judas, as one of His chosen apostles, have a special claim on
His favor? Under normal circumstances, would we not expect Him to guard
these men who had cast in their lot with Him? That He did this is evident,
especially in the case of Peter. Satan claimed the right to sift all the
apostles, as the grain is sifted from chaff. Yet our Lord besought that
Peter's faith should not be defaulting (Luke 22:31,32). As a consequence
Peter was not allowed to go as far as Judas, due alone to the intercession
of Christ. In His marvelous prayer, our Lord says: "When I was with them in
the world I kept those whom Thou has given Me in Thy name, and I guard them,
and not one of them perished except the son of destruction, that the
Scripture may be fulfilled (John 17:12).
Here is the secret of our Lord's apparent callousness. His every act was
conformed to God's written revelation. God had spoken. Not even pity could
move Him to do anything to hinder the divine decree. That is why He rather
hastened it. That is why He deliberately chose an adversary, and made no
effort whatever to save him from his fate. But was our Lord really callous?
Did He enjoy having such a character among those near and dear to Him?
Acquiescing in God's foreordination, He seldom spoke of it, for no one else
knew about it and, of necessity, it could not be made known before the
event. It was not at all ideal to have a man like Judas about. Christ
suffered much from contact with outsiders, hard hearted scribes,
hypocritical Pharisees, faithless Sadducees. Among His own close companions
and constant attendants, the only possible ideal would be unswerving
loyalty, unstinted devotion.
at this point I earnestly beg anyone who reads this e mail to consider the
facts I have presented and test them by the Scriptures. Many do gooders may
be tempted to cry, "Blasphemy!" Many may insist that God could not do these
things, no matter how clearly the Scriptures seem to certify them. But these
matters are so set forth that they cannot be misunderstood. The fact that
they are shunned shows that it is not a question of understanding but of
believing. These facts are in our Bible and will stay there whether we
accept them or not. They should help us to see that there are depths in God
which we have not fathomed. They should show us that there is something
radically wrong with our theology when we cannot bear these "hard sayings"
or do not exult in these "dark sayings".
Only once does our Lord bare His heart in relation to Judas, and that just
at the crisis when Satan enters into him, and he goes away to give up his
Lord. Here again Christ falls back upon the fact that the Scriptures must be
fulfilled. "The Son of Mankind is indeed going away according as it is
written concerning Him, yet woe to that man through whom the Son of Mankind
is being given up! Ideal were it for Him if that man were not born!" (Mark
14:21, Matt. 26:24). Here He was, with the twelve, just before His
sufferings, and He wished to pour out His heart to them. Alone with them in
the upper room, the conditions seemed ideal. But His sensitive spirit knew
that they were not ideal. One of the twelve hindered these sacred
revelations. That one must be removed before He can speak freely. So Judas
is told to go. Then His heart is relieved. Fondly calling the eleven "little
children" for the first time, He utters the wonderful words as we have them
in the fourteenth to seventeenth ch
In all four of the accounts of our Lord's life, the first mention of Judas
Iscariot is accompanied by the statement that he is the betrayer. He was
chosen with the rest of the twelve. We know the compassion of our Lord. How
the very sight of Judas must have disturbed Him! Eleven true, trusting
hearts. Why not unmask this one false intruder and remove him from his
office? It was written! Evil, such as this, must be borne, or the Scriptures
cannot be fulfilled. But the conditions certainly were not ideal. A
potential traitor is no apostle. Christ, no doubt, rejoiced in the honors He
would confer on His faithful band, in the kingdom. But He must also have
shuddered at the prospect awaiting one of them. How much it would have saved
Him if that man had not been born! If Matthias, who was also with them, had
been in his place from the first, His heart would not have been burdened by
the state and fate of Judas Iscariot.
The usual translation, "Good were it for that man if he had never been
born," has no foundation in the Original. In examining various translations,
we must always bear in mind that the tendency to translate in accord with
accepted theology is so overwhelmingly strong that a very little evidence on
the other side is practical proof of the correctness of any unpopular
translation. This is an excellent example. It is well known that the Revised
Version margin is more dependable than the text, especially where the
reading of the Greek is given. All will recognize how impossible it would be
to get a two-thirds vote of the Revision Committee in favor of confirming
this text to the Original. Few men who would do such a thing would be chosen
for such a task. Yet there were a few who were faithful, and these succeeded
in putting the truth into the margin: "Good were it for him,(Jesus) if that
man had not been born."
In such passages as these we can realize the benefits of an exact concordant
version. What was good for the Son of Mankind, and what was ideal, are two
distinct ideas. I have no doubt that, at bottom, it was good for Him to have
Judas, if we understand by "good" that which will work out the most blessing
in the end. The sphere of the word "good" is very wide and its force here is
difficult to define. But the Greek word kales, "ideal", limits the thought
to that which reaches our highest conception of perfection at the time.
Twelve faithful apostles would be ideal for Christ, though one traitor was
doubtless among the all things that worked together for good. So we may even
be justified in saying that the birth of Judas was good, but not ideal, for
the Son of Mankind.
Whatever may be our estimate of Rotherham's Emphasized Version, we may be
quite sure that, at first, he made little attempt to pander to public
opinion. The character of his translation makes his testimony of special
weight in a matter of this kind. He was not concerned about the language so
much as the sense. He renders it, "well would it have been for him, if that
man had not been born." If this is not the proper translation, then the rest
of Scripture makes no sense.Can you imagine Judas preventing his own birth?
Believe me if i could have prevented mine I probably would be a lot happier
than I really am.
Two translations used by Roman Catholics have this text correctly turned.
The Douay version of Matthew 26:24 reads: "it were better for him, if that
man had not been born." Dr. Leander van Ess, in his German version, renders
it "for him were it better, such a human were never born".
As an example Luther's version, by itself, is proof that the Concordant
Version rendering is right. Though the Greek is precisely the same in
Matthew and Mark, he renders it correctly in the former and twists it in the
latter. May we ask, if it really read, good were it for Judas if he never
had been born, would Luther, or any other translator, make it read, good
were it for the Lord, if Judas had not been born? Never! But Luther reads
(literally): "it were better for him that the same human never were born".
In Mark 14:21 he renders the same words: "it were better for the same human
that he never were born".
If it had read "Ideal were it for that man if he had not been born (as is
usually mistranslated by those with no vision) then both would refer to
Judas. But no unprejudiced reader of the English or the Greek can possibly
refer the Him to anyone but our Lord, Who is so termed in the preceding
But if all the translations ever made rendered the passage incorrectly, that
would not prove anything except human fallibility -- which is already
proven. The Original speaks of the Son of Mankind as Him and of Judas as
that man, and makes it clear that it were ideal for Him if that man were not
born. The real cause of this mistranslation is the hardness of the human
heart and nothing else, unless one wants to add the variable of stupidity.
On the one hand, who has been concerned with the feelings of our Lord and
His distress at having the traitor in His company? Padre, even his saints
seem utterly unable to sympathize with Him in this trial. On the other hand,
they have allowed a just indignation at Judas' dreadful deed to degenerate
into vindictiveness, and attribute to our Lord the harshness of their own
hearts. In judging Judas they have condemned themselves.
The Scriptures show the utter helplessness of Judas, thats plain and clear.
How could he flee from his fate? Could we have done it ? Not only were the
powers of evil against him, but the powers of good were just as determined
to make him play his part. I can hear someone way down there yelling from
the Theological peanut gallery, " If I was Judas I sure wouldent have
snitched on my lord and Saviour, i will tell you" Really ? However the truth
is God Himself had determined the role he should have, and Christ, the only
Savior, must act in accord with the divine decree. I beg my everyone whoever
reads this not to evade the issue. Let them put themselves in Judas' place.
What can a incompetent mortal do when Satan and Christ and God all force him
to commit a deed so awful in his own eyes that it drives him to desperation
It may help if I confess that I once feared to face this issue. I tried to
find a way for God to get out of this dilemma. The idea that He could make
vessels for dishonor (Rom. 9:21), and then punish them eternally was
incredible. And I was right. God could not do such a thing. My mistake was
to disbelieve God's plain statement and all the evidence which sustains it
in the Scriptures, because I had accepted a false theology in regard to His
future dealings with these vessels which He fits for destruction. Since I
now know that God will not only deal justly with them, but lovingly, I am
able to believe God, and glorify God, and exult in the God Who remains Love,
even when He hardens and hates.
We have considered Judas' past, and now lets consider his future. All are
agreed that Judas has committed a crime which can have few equals in the
annals of mankind. Therefore he must be judged for his sins, more
particularly for this supreme sin of his career. For the sake of simplicity
we will focus our attention on this one act alone, for all else that he did
sinks into insignificance compared with this. All are agreed that he must be
judged for giving up his Lord, but all are not agreed as to when and how. At
least four different answers have been given, which may be tersely stated
thus: He must burn on, burn out, burn up, or burn through. For him there is
eternal torment, or purgatory, or annihilation, or he must go through severe
judgment to ultimate reconciliation (Col. 1:20). Which one do you think it
is Christine ?
According to the most popular view Judas' full career would read something
like this: Foredoomed by God, long before he was born, to betray the
Messiah, chosen by Christ Himself to be the traitor, he proves too weak to
perform his part, so Satan takes control of him until he has done the deed,
and, driven by remorse, he takes his own life. As punishment he has been
suffering in the flames of hell ever since and will continue to do so until
the judgment of the great white throne, more than a thousand years hence.
Then he will be tried and condemned to anguish unspeakable, above all other
men, for a never-ending eternity in the lake that burns with sulphur,
miraculously kept alive to undergo his agony.
I have tried not to exaggerate. Yet the plain statement seems so fiendish,
so utterly and horribly repulsive that one wonders how sane human beings can
bear to think of it. The fact is they do not consider it, or, rather they
dare not face it. If they did they would lose all faith in a god who is such
a hateful, hideous monster. First he fixes Judas' fate, foretells it long
before, then gives him a place among the apostles, with the brightest of
prospects, then refuses to shield him from Satan, until the dastardly deed
is done and he dies a self-inflicted death. I repeat, Judas could no more
help himself than a piece of straw in a tornado. Not a person out there in
the great world of mansoul could have done differently, had he been in
Judas' place. Just think one of us could have been born Judas, and he could
have been one of us. Gee arent we lucky.
And now, for doing what God forced him to do in one short hour he is to
suffer woe utterly beyond human conception for all eternity! Such is the
idol worshiped by Christendom. We have shuddered at the awful caricatures of
the deity which men carve out of wood or stone, but none of them can compare
with the revolting and hateful fiendishness which coerced Judas to do wrong
and then expends infinite power in torturing him, and works an eternal
miracle to sustain his life so that he is able to survive his sufferings.
It is not Judas who suffers most from this terrible travesty of justice, but
the God of Judas. This is intensely practical. The apostasy of these days is
largely the result of such terrible teaching. It has led to the virtual
repudiation of the deity of God, and of those passages which represent Him
as the great Potter, Who fashions vessels for dishonor, adapted to
destruction (Rom. 9:21-22). The doctrine of eternal torment dethrones God,
and puts him on equal footing with Adolph Hitler and a handful of others out
there especially in the Corporate arena. Only an inhuman fiend can really
hold to His absolute sovereignty and torture everlasting. Acts speak louder
then words. If God deliberately creates to doom and damn, it is useless to
insist that He is Love. Black is not white, nor darkness light, neither is
hate love. Judas will not burn on.
Now what about purgatory? I know but little of purgatory, even though I was
raised a Dogan, but I remember, when I was in a Catholic College in Winnipeg
Manitoba the Jesuits (priests) explained that the worst offenders went right
straight to hell, below purgatory, whence not even the pope could recall
them. We were also taught that if our Mommy's and Daddy's paid out a few
dollars every week (Indulgences) we could get poor old uncle Joe out of
Purgatory way ahead of time. Now I thought that God must work for the Mafia.
You can actually pay for protection. Lucky my parents had money or poor joe
would still be there screamin and yelling. However years later the lord
showed me that Judas' sin could not be "burned out", and he does not come
within this category. Judas will not burn out.
The revolt against the awful injustice of eternal torment has led some to
conclude that Judas is to suffer punishment, not punishing. That is to say,
death is unconsciousness, and Judas as a part of his penalty, will be cast
into the second death, from which he will never get out of.. This,
evidently, is a great relief to anyone who has God's name at heart. Judas,
according to this, knows nothing until he is roused from the dead at the
great white throne. As a result of that judgment he will return to death in
the lake of fire, and that is his end.
Again, I insist, I am not so much concerned for Judas as for Judas' God. If
this solution is true, He will lose His reputation through His dealings with
the betrayer. It will be just a sorry piece of business in which His great
Name will suffer severely. It will take away the very foundations of His
throne. Every righteous creature in the universe will agree with me that it
is unjust of Him to place one of His creatures in a position where he must
sin, and then not only punish him for it, but blot him out of existence.
Judas will not gain. God will not gain. It will be a total loss, and God
will be the prime loser. Moreover, God Himself has never said that this is
His solution. It is only a reaction from eternal torment, a deduction of
reasoning rather than a matter of faith in actual divine declarations. Judas
will not burn up.You know what i believe? I believe that God creates
everyone in a lost condition BECAUSE HE LOVES TO SAVE. Look at all creation,
you can see he loves to cre
My heart is often sickened by the contemplation of human injustice, as
applied to Judas Iscariot, we turn with joy to God's own righteous and
loving revelation. While bowing our heads right to the ground we acknowledge
Him as the Potter, the Deity Who does what He does, Who needs not give
account of any of His actions to His creatures. It was just and good of Him
to doom Judas to be the betrayer of Christ, for this was necessary to reveal
the depths of human depravity and the lengths to which mankind can be led
when in the hands of the Adversary. This humbling knowledge needed to be set
forth by a concrete example. So the Potter formed a vessel for dishonor, and
destroyed it when its work was done. Such was Judas in the past.
What about the future of this poor soul? He is dead, and awaits the judgment
day in utter oblivion. We must remember that God is just, and does not hold
Judas a prisoner for thousands of years before bringing him before the bar.
To his consciousness, the moment of of his death will also be that of his
resurrection, and his judgment will immediately follow. Let us try to enter
into his sensations. The last sight he has had of his Lord, was when Christ
was condemned (Matt. 27:3), and was being bound to be led before Pilate. The
first sight he will have of Him when he awakes will be as the Judge, upon
the great white throne. What a tremendous contrast! Even before his death
his regret had led him to return his ill-gotten gains and take his own life.
Now that he stands before the august Judge, against Whom he has so
grievously sinned, what more will be needed to convict him, or show him the
heinousness of his sin? Will it not be unutterable anguish for his soul?
Recognizing the utter helplessness and irresponsibility of Judas, some
people out there may be tempted to think that he deserves no further
infliction whatever. But the is another extreme, false as the first. We must
always keep in view God's great purpose to reveal Himself and to bless His
creatures. Judas is a public character, just as Pharaoh was, and all
creation will judge of God as He judges Judas. Simply to pass over the
betrayal, or any sin, transgression or offense, would be false to His own
standard of justice and fatal for the future. All sin, and every evil deed,
must be judged and condemned, and the appropriate penalty inflicted. The
only escape lies in the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus, and this is
only for believers, not for unbelievers who appear before the great white
throne. Sin must be judged, not simply for the sinner's sake, but for God's.
Sin must be judged. Men are so unjust and their laws and tribunals so
corrupt that we have lost the great truth of judgment. As a consequence the
word judgment has been practically replaced by punishment. Men imagine that
the whole end and aim of God's dealings with them in the future is to make
them suffer for their sins. But God has already done much in the way of
judging, and invariably He has had an end in view. His judgment eras have
always been beneficial for the world. The deluge washed the earth of its
iniquity. The judgment period now impending will cleanse it for the kingdom.
The judgment of every creature is a necessary preliminary to salvation and
Some have the illusion that judgment is intended to be a deterrent, so that
those who have tasted the bitter fruit of sin will never offend again. Trust
me, this would be a very flimsy foundation for the future. It is contrary to
human experience. A man who has served a sentence is not immune from
temptation. He is more likely to fall than others who have never been behind
the bars. God's judgment is preliminary to a life in which there can be no
sin. Sin is due to death working in us. When there is no death and all are
made alive it will be impossible for them to sin. Sin and death go together.
Life and incorruption go hand in hand. Judgment is not needed as a deterrent
for the future. But it is a necessary preliminary to the glory of God and
the bliss of His creatures. The principles of God's judgment are given us
just where we should expect them -- in the opening argument of the Roman
epistle. He will be paying each according to his acts. There will be
indignation and fury, affli
But this is not the end of Judas. His name is not written in the book of
life. Hence, once more, he will enter death -- his second death -- until the
consummation comes. There is no knowledge (I dont believe) in the death
state, hence, for Judas, the period of the second death has no conscious
existence. Even as the moment when he lost consciousness in the past will be
followed by the moment of his resurrection, so also the second death will
form no part of his experience. The whole of the long last eon, called "the
eon of the eons" in the Scriptures, will pass without his knowledge.
Remember Paul said "And have hope toward God, which they themselves also
allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and
unjust" .Acts 24:15
Now what about the Salvation of Judas ? God has declared that He is the
Savior of all mankind, especially of those who believe. Up to this time in
his career Judas has known nothing of God as his own Savior. He has been in
His hands as the Potter, and was made a vessel for dishonor. As such he has
been destroyed. He knew only Christ as his Teacher, when he was one of the
twelve apostles, that was it. Later, at the great white throne, he meets Him
as Judge. But as Savior He is still unknown to Judas. And only a Savior is
of any avail now. Judgment does not save the one judged. The afflictions he
endures during his second life, between his resurrection and his second
death, give him no claim on God or His blessing. Salvation is only of God,
through Christ. God has lost Judas, and He alone can save him, on the basis
of the blood shed on Golgotha (1 Tim. 4:10).
Along with all mankind, Judas and all the rest of us including the Pope, has
taken a nose dive into condemnation through Adam. But the God of Judas has
made it clear that Adam's one offense has its counterpart in the obedience
of Christ. Just as he was condemned on account of Adam's act, so will his
life be justified on account of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:18).
Up to the time of his second death Judas has not known God the Justifier. I
honestly believe that when the roll is called up yonder Judas will be
sitting in the front row, and most of the rest of the goodie goodies will be
jammed somewhere at the back of the hall.
God has declared that death shall be abolished. That, as in Adam all are
dying, so in Christ, all shall be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22). (
annihilationists dont like this scripture) However their view is that this
means that ALL in Christ (only) will be made alive, meaning the believers
are the only ones made alive. The context of scripture teaches otherwise.
What about this one ?And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Luke 3:6
I honestly believe that even my little Dog who passed away a year ago will
somehow, and in some manner, have eternal life. Ive had people tell me that
animals have no soul.Then I ask them to Scripturally prove it and obviously
they cannot.Others say dogs are not born again, so I counter that by asking
"are you" Most of the time there is no answer.
Sometimes I get off the track, so lets get back to Judas. Judas died in
Adam. But, when he is in the second death, he has not yet been made alive in
Christ. If he had been made alive in Christ he would not be in death at all.
The God of Judas must not only become his Savior, but his Life. Paul said
"but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ
Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light
through the gospel" (2 Tim. 1:10).
Originally, Judas was created in the Son of God's love. "For by him all
things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created
by him and for him".Col. 1:16).No one can change this.
He was created in Him long before he was in Adam. If his place in Adam
brings him so much shame and condemnation, such a surplus of suffering and
death, how much more will his earlier position in the Son of God's love
bring him salvation and life, justification and reconciliation! What he
received from Adam came to him without his consent. He never asked to be
born. No faith was required. He did not need to make it his own. Neither
will it be necessary for him to believe or accept or struggle for that which
will come to him because he was in the Son of God's love. How can he do any
of these things when he is in the second death?
Padre, I know that God's Word is true. Death shall be abolished. All mankind
shall be saved and justified and vivified.Yikes I just confessed to being a
big bad Universalist. However all creation shall be reconciled. And Judas
will not be left out, if he is I dont have a hope in Hell. It is quite
impossible for us to realize what this will mean to him, condemned,
destroyed, alienated, twice dead. The God of Judas, at the consummation,
will become his Savior, his Justifier, his Vivifier, and his Reconciler. Is
it possible for us to imagine the relief, the joy, the ineffable exultation
which will be his when he realizes that sin and enmity and death are all
past forever? When he sees that, though for a fleeting moment he was a
public vessel for dishonor, God was not sealing his eternal doom, but
preparing him personally for a deep appreciation of His future gift, will he
not worship and adore Him for it all?
The God of Judas, Who hardens hearts, Who molds vessels to display His
indignation, did not begin His work with Adam, neither does He end it at the
great white throne. He commenced with Christ and He will conclude it at the
consummation. Adam, with his black burden of condemnation and death, is only
a parenthesis in God's revelation. We must not judge God's work by it alone.
Adam is not the Alpha of God's ways, and we must not make him the Omega.
Judas was not only in Adam, in Eden, but in the Beloved Son in creation. He
will not only be judged because of his inheritance from the first man, but
also be saved because of his earlier union with the Second.
God does not call Himself the God of Judas, because doom and judgment are
His strange deeds. They are temporary and terminable activities. The time is
coming when there will be no more doom (Rev. 22:3). Then it will no longer
be necessary to harden a king's heart to resist God's will, and thus reveal
His power. Satan will never again enter a human being to turn him against
God, as in the case of Judas. Evil exists only in the times of the
eons,(ages) (not forever) and doom is confined to the first four. It has no
place in the last eon, when God tabernacles with mankind. Judas is, perhaps,
the best example of doom that Scripture gives us. In considering his case we
must emphasize the fact that God does not deal so with His creatures at all
times. It would be difficult to justify His course if it were His normal and
eternal procedure. It is exceptional and temporary. But its lesson is
everlasting. The temporary pain will lead to an eternal gain to the
creatures of God's heart.
I will emphasize again that No man is "responsible" for his own birth. "To
be or not to be" is not a problem for a creature. The Creator has kept such
matters under His own control. Hence He alone is "responsible". If it were
good for Judas never to have been born, the only one to be blamed is the One
Who alone could foresee his career and prevent his birth. Yet He, on the
contrary, predicted his course and made his birth inevitable. God's Word
would have been found untrue if Judas had never been born. Hence it was good
for God that Judas was born. And what glorifies God is always a blessing to
His creatures. It is good for us that Judas was born. I can hear a gereral
retort from the masses "better him tham me" And, in view of God's glorious
ultimate, we may be sure that Judas himself will praise and adore God for
giving him birth. The words in our popular versions are utterly false. It
would not be good for Judas if he had never been born.
It appears that we have almost lost the true idea of deity. We speak of God
as "allowing" this and "permitting" that, as though He could not help
Himself. We have forgotten that He is Elohim, the great Disposer, Who works
all according to the counsel of His own will. We refuse to believe that all
is out of Him. As a result we are timid when called upon to face the facts
in the case of Judas, for we fear for the God of Judas. If Judas is
eternally damned believe me our fears are justified, for he will drag down
with him the Deity Who predicted his career and doomed him before he had
been born. But, if Judas is eventually saved, all of these fears are
groundless, and we can look into the face of God unafraid, with holy awe, as
we bow in submission and acquiescence to His will. Some day we will see that
the terrible tragedy of the present will issue in the unspeakable glory of
Leaving Judas' own fate out of the matter, what about the future of the God
of Judas. Shall this man be an eternal eyesore in His universe. Shall God's
glory be eclipsed forever by His dealings with the traitor. He claims to be
Love. Is it love to doom and condemn the helpless.Even we are admonished to
"love our enemies" Justice is the foundation of His throne. But how can He
justify His condemnation of Judas before he had even been born. His wisdom
can cope with any problem. Then why did it fail in Judas' case. As far as I
am concerned Every attribute that adorns the Deity is called into question
if Judas is eternally lost. His is a test case. Declarations are empty
unless accomplished by deeds. If God's acts deny His words He will lose the
confidence of all His creatures. It is not Judas' fate, but God's deity
which is at stake.
But the love of God is wise. The case of Judas will prove it, not deny it.
By saving one who sinned so fearfully, God's affection for His creatures
will be displayed, not eclipsed. And the love of God is just. In justifying
one whose hands were reddened with the blood of the great Sacrifice, His
righteousness will be revealed, not violated. Judas' dreadful deed was
committed under the very shadow of the cross. Who dares to limit the value
of the blood of Golgotha, to confine the abiding efficacy of that august
Sacrifice. God has made it the basis of reconciliation with all (Col.1:20).
He has the ability. He has the wisdom. He has the love. He will accomplish
God Bless You.,...........Dennis