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The Long Shadow Of Judas
Since the time of the Sacrifice of The Messiah, the name of Judas Iscariot (not to be confused with numerous other righteous men of Bible History who were named Judas, including an actual sibling of Jesus Christ, and another who was one of the other apostles - see the Fact Finder question below) has become synonymous with traitor. Most people who look back at that time see him in that way. But what did people who looked forward to Judas Iscariot, as in Prophecy, think of him?
A little history lesson of prophecy, by the apostle Peter shortly after the death of Judas (Jesus and Judas died on the same day - Judas early in the morning just after sunrise, Jesus in late afternoon nearing sunset), speaking of how King David wrote of Judas, in the Psalms (e.g. Psalm 69:25 and 109:8, as quoted by Peter below), centuries before Judas was born:
"1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty, 1:16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas [see also The Prophets: David], which was guide to them that took Jesus. 1:17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
Peter could have quoted other prophets about Judas as well, including Zechariah (see The Prophets: Zechariah) and Jeremiah (as we will read farther below).
"11:12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 11:13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD." (Zechariah 11:12-13 KJV)
The Son of God also knew all along (see The By-The-Book Messiah) that Judas Iscariot would be the Judas "that should betray him."
"6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him." (John 6:64 KJV)
"I have betrayed the innocent blood"
Judas likely cast a long serpentine shadow from the low, early-morning sun as he swung in the breeze from his hangman's tree, but as we read above, Judas cast a long serpent-like shadow prophetically, long before he actually committed it - all culminating in a few hours before Passover.
The deal for the betrayal came after Judas was rebuked by the Messiah.
"26:6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 26:7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
John's account of the rebuke was more specific as to which of the disciples "had indignation" at the anointing of Jesus: "one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot." Despite his protests against the "waste," "This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag." Judas was a liar and a thief - that was his ingrained character before the betrayal.
"12:1 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 12:2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
Satan cannot penetrate a "heart" where the Holy Spirit dwells, but Satan can easily infect a "heart" of a liar and a thief - and so he did with Judas, who then went and made a deal with other men whose hearts were filled with lust for carnal pride and gain, rather than the love of the Truth (see also Lethal Lust).
"22:1 Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. 22:2 And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. 22:3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. 22:4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. 22:5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money." (Luke 22:1-5 KJV)
The most stark statement made about Judas Iscariot, by the Son of God, was "it had been good for that man if he had not been born." That occurred at "the last supper," which unlike for Judas, for the Messiah and all of the others was not their last supper - they have an eternity of suppers coming.
"26:17 Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
Once again, John's account is more specific about Judas. It seems that John had found reason to "keep an eye on" Judas. John records that Judas left the "last supper" while all of the others remained with the Messiah. Judas "went immediately out: and it was night" - to gather the gang that he would then lead right to the Son of God.
"13:24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.
The Messiah and the other apostles then crossed over to the nearby Mount of Olives. The Lord prayed (see How To Pray), and then the betrayer came with the mob to arrest Him.
"26:37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
Peter then drew his sword and attempted to defend the King. Unfortunately, Judas was not the one that Peter connected with, but instead "struck a servant of the high priest."
"26:51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.
The Messiah was then tortured and mocked through the night. After hearing and witnessing at least part of the atrocity, Judas "repented himself" and returned the blood money to the "chief priests and elders." He then went out and hanged himself - which itself is proof that he did not truly repent - if he had, he would not have committed an act that denies the forgiveness that is available to everyone who truly repents. Also, in doing so, he further disqualified himself as an apostle because among the twelve "must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection" (Acts 1:22 KJV). Only Judas, by his own free action, failed to "see" (physically and otherwise) the resurrection.
As prophesied by Jeremiah ("Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet"), the blood money was used for the burial place of Judas. Although Judas did not permit the Messiah to forgive him (by genuine repentance, rather than just "repent himself"), Judas inadvertently permitted the Messiah to pay for his burial with the very money that the betrayer was paid to betray Him.
"27:1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: 27:2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
Fact Finder: Were there numerous other righteous men named Judas?