This is a re-formatted version of this chapter in the book So You Think You're Chosen?
THE APOSTLES PAUL AND JUDAS
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The apostles Paul and Judas Iscariot are opposites
in the New Testament. One is known as a faithful
teacher whilst the other as a betrayer, but they both
started out in a different role to the one they are
now known. Judas was perceived as a follower of Jesus
and Paul as an enemy of Jesus. It is this observation
which makes each of them useful as illustrations of
unconditional predestination (allegedly). I wish to show
the bible reveals them as not having changed in their
heart or root purpose.
In unconditional predestination teaching Paul is said to have been transformed and changed into someone he himself was not desirous to be: it is understood by implication that Paul never wanted or asked for this. Hence in this way he is seen as a useful illustrator of God’s unconditional choice to salvation. Conversely Judas is understood as not having use of free-will for if he had, as is understood, how could he have fulfilled his ‘role’ as betrayer: would that not have put God’s plans or foresight in jeopardy? He is thus used as a pointer to the total inability of man especially in the realm of free-will.
These understood considerations, believed in this way, make both these characters worthy of attention and I aim to show the biblical record testifies that the way both these men turned out was in fact the direction they were inclined and wanted to go in the first place: the true state of their heart’s desire from the beginning did not change throughout their life as it is recorded.
The Apostle Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot: was he a child of God and fell, or was he not a true child of God from the beginning?
Did Jesus pick him, as one of his apostles in the knowledge that his heart was not honestly towards God, or that it was, but that he would turn away from God?
The scripture tells us that Jesus knew what was in man and therefore had no need that anyone should testify of man (to Him)1. This is not to say he knew everything about every heart of man, but that Jesus was familiar with every kind of heart and how to discern them. We know this does not refer to any supposed omniscience on the part of the Son of God (on earth) since he would then never have asked ‘Who touched Me?’ as he did2.
So Jesus was conscious of how to recognise all men3in that he was familiar with the signs and evidence for what was in them4. John the writer of the gospel who tells us this also wrote some letters. In one of these he says ‘. . . even now many antichrists have come . . . They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us’5.
Jesus called Judas Iscariot ‘the son of perdition’6 and the Antichrist of prophecy is given that name also in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. It is to John also that we are indebted for the record of the fruit of Judas Iscariot’s life: following expensive ointment having been poured on the feet of Jesus, Judas complained that this could have been sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor7. However, John then tells us: ‘this he [Judas Iscariot] said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it’.
Now we know that Jesus said he who was unjust in little was unjust in much8. And since he had good vision as to recognise what came out of the heart, I believe it was on purpose, that the scripture might be fulfilled that, after some time with a number of followers, Jesus picked 12 men and one of them he already knew the heart was not toward God: Judas Iscariot9.
. . . Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.
Luke mentions that after continuing all night to God
in prayer Jesus chose 12 whom he also named apostles10.
But John also tells us that Jesus lost none of those
whom the Father had given him11: Because as he states
in his letter, Judas was not in his heart of hearts ‘one
The fruit of Judas’ life is told us by John in the midst of the context that Jesus as The Logos, is the Light that gives light to every man who comes into the world12. Every person who takes hold of this light by believing in it (no outside assistance is mentioned in the text at this stage whatsoever) is then given the right (after taking hold of the light for themselves assistance is then given) to become a child of God13. It is these whom the Father draws to Jesus14. Because just as Jesus explained by quoting from the prophets in the following verse ‘“they shall all be taught by God.” Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me’ (John 6:45). Here we find Jesus explaining what he has just stated earlier. God is in the business of teaching about spiritual truths and those who learn these things come to Jesus. “All” are taught, but only those who receive [take hold of for themselves] this teaching, are thus then drawn to Jesus. They are the ones mentioned in John 1:12 as receiving Him who are then given the right to become children of God.
But, as John put it in his letter Judas Iscariot had never been one of them as evidenced by his practise of evil (1 John 2:18-19). This practise Jesus tells us in John 3:20 is evidence that someone does not believe in the light (i.e. the Name of the only begotten Son of God15 and is not therefore born of God [i.e. again] – see The Meaning of Born Again in my book Will there be Non-Christians in heaven?
So Judas Iscariot was a recognised ‘plant’ by Jesus and he allowed it that the scripture might be fulfilled and be a valuable lesson to the 11. Nevertheless, Jesus loved Judas (even called him ‘friend’ as he was kissed/betrayed), but was not going to impose upon him, His own real desire for him (i.e. that he might be saved – e.g. 1 Timothy 2:4). The works of Jesus was testimony enough etc... But Judas ‘loved darkness rather than light, because [his] . . . deeds were evil’16. Just as Abraham said to the rich man in hell, they have Moses and the prophets as a witness and even if one should rise from the dead they would still not believe17– as was indeed confirmed by the Pharisees and the Jews against Jesus who knew of Lazarus’ resurrection (the other Lazarus), yet did not repent18. They had already chosen to love darkness and were by this not given authority to see (cause and effect) lest they should repent (due to inherent capacity to do so as shown by the constant parable purpose ‘That “. . . hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins should be forgiven them”’19. Jesus recognised it was Judas Iscariot’s choice: to love darkness – and this is why I believe he was picked to fulfil the scripture.
Paul the Apostle
Paul mentions in the book of Romans that he had not known sin except for the law20; if it was not for the law he would be ignorant of sin. He also mentions that there is ‘law’ which is written in the heart21. This internal law, when violated, results in conscience accusing the offender22. Thus Paul advocates for doing what you know to be right. He is also aware that you can do wrong without knowing that what you are doing is wrong23: by doing an act in ignorance that it is in itself not right.
Paul’s own persecution of the first Christians is a clear case in point. Paul did this in a time of ignorance: without knowledge that this was wrong. To him, at that point in time, not to persecute the Christians was to allow the name of his God and his religion to be defiled. His conscience as it was at that point would not be clear if he did not persecute Christians. The law and thus the knowledge of wrongdoing in this activity, this was not present in his heart and mind: Which is why he can tell us after having become a Christian, and an apostle of Christ at that, his conscience has been clear before God and man (up) to that day.
. . . I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
There was no envy in his heart out of which he
persecuted Christ unlike the way the Pharisees and religious leaders had done24. Which is why Jesus said
to him ‘it is hard for you . . .’25 He was already God’s
man for this was his honest purpose ‘before God’. He
had not violated any law that he knew of concerning
what was wrong. The moment that he learned and was
no longer ignorant concerning the fact that persecuting
Christians was in fact attacking the very Lord he was
trying to serve, he was no longer free by conscience
to do this act against the law. The law he had now
learned. Of course by using the word law I use the
same expression that Paul uses, but in modern day
thinking the word truth may be more appropriate.
The moment Paul had gained the truth that acts against
Christians was acts against God his conscience would
no longer be clear were he to go on fighting them.
However, until that truth was real to him, his belief was that not to persecute Christians was to allow tainting of the religion of his fathers. The God of the Torah was blasphemed by the followers of ‘the way’. So his heart which was zealous for God would not permit him to rest whilst this ‘heresy’ was propagated.
Paul said that ‘where there is no law there is no transgression’26 and that ‘sin is not imputed [taken account of] when there is no law’27. So it can be seen that until Paul learned the truth that his persecuting acts were wrong, until he understood transgression was involved, though he was committing sin, God who knew his heart motive was not holding it against him. That sin was not taken account of until there was knowledge of the truth that it was wrong.
Paul’s heart was so much for his God that his heart’s prayer was to be able to follow God. God saw this and he thereby arranged,
Paul to go away from Jerusalem by his trip to Damascus and away from those persecuting Christ with the wrong motives
Paul to be challenged on the road to Damascus and thus,
Paul to be set free and healed to follow God more fully just as his heart desired28.
For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
1 John 2:24-25 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
2 Luke 8:45 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
3 John 2:24 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
4 John 2:25, 3:20-21 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
5 1 John 2:18-19 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
6 John 17:12 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
7 John 12:1-8 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
8 Luke 16:10 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
9 John 6:64 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
10 Luke 6:12-16 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
11 John 18:9 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
12 John1:9 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
13 John 1:12 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
14 John 6:44a Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
15 John 3:18 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
16 John 3:19 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
17 Luke 16:19-31 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
18 John 11:1-44 then 45-47 and 12:9-11 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
19 Mark 4:12 quoting Isaiah 6:9, Matthew 13:13-15 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
20 Romans 7:7 & 3:20 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
21 Romans 2:15 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
22 Romans 2:14-15 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
23 1 Timothy 1:13 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
24 Matthew 27:18 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
25 Acts 9:5 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
26 Romans 4:15 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
27 Romans 5:13 Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
28 See the previous chapter on Romans 8:28 in Context Click here to return to associated (same) part of text.
Copyright © Jacques More 2008
First published in Great Britain 2008
The right of Jacques More to be identiﬁed as
the Author of The Work has been asserted by him
in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
Unless otherwise stated Bible passages are taken from
The Holy Bible,
New King James Version Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983
by Thomas Nelson, Inc.