Who Was Judas Iscariot?
We are told by Christ that Judas was selected to be one of the apostles though it was known by Christ that he was an adversary (a devil). "Jesus answered them, have not I chose you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (John 6:70). This recognition by Christ was stated a full year before he was betrayed by Judas. In fact, the bible shows that Judas did not even intend to betray Christ until Satan inspired him to that action on the eve of the Passover. "And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simons son, to betray him" (John 13:2). God allowed Satan to motivate Judas to commit his terrible act in order that prophecy would be fulfilled and that Christ could die for the sins of the whole world.
While the salvation of all is a central teaching of the New Testament, this does not completely excuse Judas. He must endure a just punishment, and lack of reward, for giving in to Satan and committing his betrayal of Christ (I Corinthians 3:11-15). This is especially true of Judas because of who he was. He was not an ordinary common person such as a fisherman or tax collector. He was the only one of the apostles who was a high ranking ecclesiastical official. Judas, in actual fact, was a priest of the line of Aaron. This can be proved by paying close attention to what the New Testament says of him.
After Judas had betrayed Christ to the chief priests, they gave him thirty pieces of silver. In remorse, he took the coins to the Temple and threw them over the floor of the naos (a Greek word meaning the holy place into which only Aaronic priests could enter) (Matthew 27:5). But note this. The original Greek in the vast number of New Testament manuscripts says that Judas scattered the coins while in the holy place of the Temple. This verse shows that Judas was inside a part of the Temple which was reserved only for priests. This scripture alone shows that Judas was in fact a priest. But that is not all.
The best reading of Mark 14:10 shows that Judas was not an ordinary apostle. He was "the one of the twelve." Note the definite article in the phrase. This phrase gives Judas a preeminence among the apostles. Prof. Wright (Synopsis of the Gospels in Greek, p.31) is of the belief that mark clearly calls Judas "the chief of the apostles." Field, the New Testament scholar (Notes on the Translation of the NT) said Mark meant that Judas was "the first that is, number one) of the apostles." This may be going a little too far, but even the Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels (vol.I.p.908) states that Marks definition gave Judas a kind of priority. This makes his crime even more wrong. The very person ordained in the Old Testament to be the top representative for God, was the very person to betray Christ. There is a common epithet with which many may be familiar: "Judas Priest." This is a popular indication of Judas ranking position within the ecclesiastical hierarchy. He was an apostle who was an ordained minister. He was a priest.
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