Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How did Judas Die

Many skeptics point out that Matthew and the writer of Acts (most likely Luke) contradict eachother regarding how Judas died. Matthew states that he hung himself. Acts says that he fell headlong into a field and his guts spilled out. What is not said what actually killed him the hanging or the fall. This means both descriptions could have happened even though only one of these events would have actually killed him.

There is no contradiction here because the account in Acts is not pointing how Judas died, but where he ironically ended up. You see the field Judas' body fell in after he hung himself was the field the pharisees bought with the money Judas received for betraying Jesus. Peter mentioned it this way in that he was pointing out how Judas would rot in the fruit of his own sin.

Judas hung himself and at some point the branch he hung from broke allowing his body to fall. He most likely landed on some rocks or something that would have caused his guts to spill out of his body. There is a second illustration provided here by Peter for us to discover. Jesus has many nicknames and one of them is the Branch. Judas killed himself physically and spiritually by breaking the branch and falling into his own sin.

So you see this is obviously not a contradiction, but a teaching illustration meant to remind us of what Judas did to himself by betraying his savior and what will happen to all who reject Jesus. Those who claim this to be a contradicction have not really read the accounts and thought about the two perspectives. It is interesting how skeptics will scoff whether the account is identical or harmonized. Skeptics are looking for a reason to accuse, they are not seeking truth.


  1. Hey Tim, so interesting post. This definitely has me thinking about the whole issue because we wrote about this long ago.

    I don't agree with you simply because for the very same reasons you give for not harmonizing it, I could use for you not simply seeing there are two very different accounts of Judas' death.

    But there is a deeper issue here. You hint from your post that Judas is in hell for betraying Jesus. Is that what you think? Wasn't Judas necessary for God's plan and therefore fulfilling God's will? And he's damned for that?

    Please let me know what you think on this matter.


  2. Hey Bob, how are you doing, its so good to hear from you. If this is Bob Brown give me a call so we can hang out.

    Anyway, if Luke actually meant something different than Matthew as far as how Judas died, then a few problems arise. First, Luke painstakingly searched out so many details, it makes no sense that he would be so sloppy here. Matthew being one of the 12, would have certainly been more of an eye witness. Matthew and Luke were both considered inspired by God, but if one was wrong about this issue, then their writings would have been rejected by the early church. Even if they did disagree, the Holy Spirit still caused them to write their accounts in a way that they remain harmonized. God sometimes has taken something someone has said and used it for something the person did not consciously intend, (remember the words of high priest Caiphus).

    As for your question. Well this has to deal with that whole question of predestination. God's word does declare that we are predestined. But we are predestined based on God's foreknowledge of the choices we would make in our lives. God knew the beginning to end of every persons life before he created the earth. You may then ask why would he create the earth seeing how it would become so bad. Well, because He loves us, and wanted to save those who would accept His grace. He showed love to those who would reject Him as well when He died on the cross, but rejection of that work seperates them from God for eternity. So God knew the choice Judas would make. God did not need Judas to fulfill His salvation plan, God could use anything if He wanted to. Remember Jesus said that if the people did not respond to His triumphal entry, that the rocks would cry out. Judas was damned for the free will choice he made to reject and betray Jesus. Judas was damned for the many sins he committed in life. Just like all of us. We all sin everyday, but God loves us, and wants to save us. HOWEVER, WE HAVE TO RECEIVE HIS GRACE. This means we put our faith in Jesus, repent of our sins and walk with God all the days of our life. Hope that makes sense.

  3. OK, I'll call you but I am not sure you answered my question. Was Judas destined to go to hell?

  4. Still not buying it for the reasons stated here.

    I could just as easily say "Apologists are looking for a reason to confirm what they already believe; they are not seeking truth." If you don't come into the conversation with a conviction that it must necessarily be true, then there is no cause to harmonize two accounts which are clearly telling two different stories.

    Interesting wrinkle about Jesus having "Branch" as a nickname. Can you please cite your source for that, where it originated, any other place it is used? Like so much else in the Gospels and Acts, the death of Judas smacks of mythmaking. He just happened to die with such conveniently poetic justice?

  5. Bob Judas was predestined to go to Hell based on Gods foreknowledge of the choices Judas made himself. Jesus makes reference to this in John 17:12

  6. Here are the references for Branch. Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Zechariah 3:8-9. The Hebrew word here for branch is Natser which is the root for Nazarene. This helps us understand what is being refered to in Matthew 2:23

  7. Ok, thanks for letting me in on that. I have a very hard time wrapping my head around, and therefore trusting an entity that predestines the destruction of a person.

    Are you really ok with that Tim? God just HAD to send someone to hell for any excuse? I mean, if Judas was already damned, what was the point? There was nothing he could do since it had to fulfill the scripture so his whole life was simply to do x, and then go to hell.

    It's very hard to accept. How do you square that circle? (for a lack of a better way to word the question)

    I guess my bigger question is:if we are predestined then why blog about the bible? See what I mean?

  8. Bob, I don't think you understood what I wrote. God does not just choose to condemn someone to fulfill His plan. The person (In this case Judas) is condemned because he chose to reject Jesus and betray Him. God did not make Judas do this. Judas chose to do this of his own free will. God had it written in scripture ahead of time, because God knew what Judas would choose. God knows what you will choose and knows where you will end up, but He does not make you choose that path, He just allows you to choose your path. Along the way, God tries to draw you into His salvation, but He will not violate your free will.

    I blog about the Bible, because God may use what I write to help someone receive Christ as their savior.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. The only comment I deleted was the one you used inappropriate language on. I have had some problems with this blog, I don't know if I did something wrong or what. I read your last comment that referenced the Netser article, but when I went back to my blog, your comment was gone. But I did not intend to delete that one. So if you want to repost it, please do.