Which Judas Iscariot?
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
April 30, 2006
Is the name Kerioth or Carioth familiar to you?
Likely not, however, it is listed as a town of the Tribe of Judah in
Joshua 15:25. We
know the town was still in existence in Christ’s day however, there
is no town in Palestine today that carries that name. Bible scholars
identify it with the ruins of el-Kureitein, which is about 10 miles
south of Hebron.
Kerioth is important to us because it is used to
identify specifically the notorious betrayer of our Lord Jesus
Christ – Judas Iscariot.
The Judas Iscariot of the New Testament
- Some Basic Facts About Judas Iscariot
We know the meaning of the name Judas
is the Greek form of the Hebrew word
for Judah, meaning praise.
We know who the father of Judas Iscariot was
Turn in your Bibles to John 6:71 "He spake of Judas
Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should
betray him, being one of the twelve." His father is also identified
in John 12:4 and John 13:2 & 26
We know where Judas Iscariot was from
The first mention of Judas, the betrayer of
Jesus, is in the listing of the 12 Disciples of Christ found in
Matthew 10:1-4. He is called Judas Iscariot. The Greek word is –
iskariwthv – Iskariotes, pronounced in Greek as -
is-kar-ee-o’-tace and means a man of Kerioth.
- The Other Men Named Judas In The New
You might wonder why it is important to know that
Judas was from Kerioth. It helps us so we do not confuse him with
the other men named Judas in the New Testament. Let’s take a look at
some of the other men named Judas –
The half-brother of Jesus - Matthew
13:55 "Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called
Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?"
Judas one of the 12 Apostles, but not Iscariot - Luke 6:16
"And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot,
which also was the traitor." The same as the Judas of Acts 1:13.
Judas not Iscariot - John 14:22 "Judas
saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt
manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?" Who is this
Judas? It is probably the same as Thaddeus Lebbeus (Matthew 10:3),
the brother of James, and author of what is called the Epistle of
Jude (Jude 1:1). Note: The actual Greek word behind the word Jude
is Ioudav which transliterated is Ioudas, Joudas or Judas. It
is my thought that the Apostle Judas who is the brother of
James, the Judas, not Iscariot, Thaddeus Lebbeus and
the author Jude of the Epistle of Jude are very likely the
Judas the Revolutionary - Acts 5:37 "After
this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing,
and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all,
even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed."
There is Judas who owned the house Saul/Paul
stayed in shortly after his conversion - Acts 9:11 "And
the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which
is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for
one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,"
Judas Barsabas along with Silas were chosen
accompanied Paul and Barnabas to the Church of Antioch to tell them
of the decision of the Jerusalem Council - Acts 15:22, 27, 32
"Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to
send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and
Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas,
chief men among the brethren:"
Since there are numerous men named Judas in the
New Testament, I am thankful that, under the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit, Judas the traitor is identified as Judas Iscariot or
Judas which betray him.
- The Prophecy of The Traitor
Jesus Knew of David’s Prophecy & Knew Judas
Would Betray Him
It is important to draw to you attention that
Jesus knew, right from the beginning, which of the twelve disciples
it was that would betray Him. Turn in your Bibles to John 6:64-66
"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. 65 And he said, Therefore
said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given
unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his
disciples went back, and walked no more with him."
Our Lord Jesus Christ clearly indicates that
Psalm 41:9 – "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted,
which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against
me." - was a prophetic reference to the fact that one of his
friends, one of his disciples would betray him. John 13:18 "I
speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the
scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted
up his heel against me."
The Apostles Believed Judas’ Betrayal Was A
Fulfillment of Prophecy
Apostles saw the betrayal of Judas as a
fulfillment of Psalm 41. Turn to Acts 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, which was guide to them that took Jesus."
The name if Judas Iscariot is always listed
last in the Synoptic Gospels – Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:14-19;
Judas is a prime example of a person who
professed to be a believer who fell into absolute apostasy. He
followed the Lord Jesus Christ three years along with the other
disciples and pretended to be one of them. I think he must have
considered himself to be a believer, at least at the beginning,
because if he didn’t I doubt that he would have joined the
other eleven. He, like the others, must have left everything to
follow Christ. He must have initially thought Christ was the Messiah
and shared in the hope of the Kingdom. But what happened?
Judas Iscariot was the treasurer & thief
John 13:29 "For some of them thought,
because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy
those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that
he should give something to the poor."
I think it is possible that the greed of Judas
was the beginning of his downfall, which ultimately led to his
betrayal of Christ. John 12:3-6 "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. 4 Then saith one of his disciples,
Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, 5
Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and
given to the poor? 6 This he said, not that he cared for the
poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare
what was put therein."
Judas Iscariot did not confess that Jesus was
Turn to Matthew 26:20-25 "Now when the
even was come, he sat down with the twelve. 21 And as they
did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall
betray me. 22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began
every one of them to say unto him, Lord (kurie - kurie), is it I?
23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand
with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. 24 The Son of
man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the
Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not
been born. 25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered
and said, Master (rabbi - Rabbi), is it I? He said unto him,
Thou hast said."
Judas Iscariot was possessed by Satan.
We see this in John 13:27.
Judas Iscariot negotiated with the Chief
Priests to betray Jesus
Mark 14:10-11 "And Judas Iscariot, one of the
twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. 11
And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to
give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him."
Matthew 26:14-16 "Then one of the twelve,
called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And
said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him
unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of
silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to
Have you ever given any thought why Judas
betrayed Jesus? What was his motive? While we do not know
for sure, there are some good possibilities in my mind…
Was it that he was angry at the
public rebuke given him by Christ at the supper in the house
of Simon the leper? (See Matthew 26:6-14)
Was it because he was greedy &
covetousness? He did it for the thirty pieces of silver,
because we know that he was a thief (John 12:6).
Was it because he was disappointment
because Christ insisted on foretelling his death instead of
receiving his kingdom. He began to fear that there was to
be no kingdom, after all?
Was it because he abandoned what
increasingly seemed to be a failing cause and hoped he would
gain honor and a position of influence in the Pharisee
Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss
Matthew 26:47-50 "And while he yet spake, lo,
Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with
swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever
I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And
forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed
him. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art
thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him."
Matthew 27:3-8 "Then Judas, which had
betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented [
himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief
priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have
betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to
us? see thou to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver
in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. 6
And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not
lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of
blood. 7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the
potter's field, to bury strangers in. 8 Wherefore that field
was called, The field of blood, unto this day."
The key word here is repent. This
verb (first aorist passive participle of metamelomai) really
means to be sorry afterwards. But mere sorrow avails
nothing unless it leads to change of mind and life (metanoia),
the sorrow according to God (2Corinthians 7:9). This sorrow
Peter had when he wept bitterly. It led Peter back to Christ. But
Judas had only remorse that led to suicide.
Let’s look at Matthew 27:5 one more time -
"And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and
departed, and went and hanged himself." However, there are
some who think there is a conflict between what Matthew writes and
what Luke wrote in Acts 1:18-19 "Now this man purchased a
field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst
asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And
it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that
field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say,
The field of blood."
Judas first hanged himself, perhaps over the
valley of Hinnom. The rope or branch likely gave way causing Judas
to fall headlong, hitting the rocks below causing hom to burst and
all his bowels to spill out. According to Acts 1:25 Judas
"went unto his own place." There is no doubt in my mind that the
reference is pointing to Hell.
This is the picture of Judas Iscariot of the New Testament.
The Judas Iscariot of The "Gnostic Godpel of
The so-called Gospel of Judas, that is making the
rounds so to speak, was written in Coptic (Egyptian language in
Greek letters) somewhere between 300 and 400 AD. Many scholars
believe that it is a translation of an earlier letter by the same
name written in Greek. Early church pastor Irenaeus of Lyon, warned
of a writing called the Gospel of Judas. We do not know if it really
is the basis of the Coptic pseudo-gospel.
Here is part of the warning of Irenaeus –
Some "declare that Cain derived his being
from the Power above, and acknowledge that Esau, Korah, the
Sodomites, and all such persons, are related to themselves.
. ..They declare that Judas the traitor was thoroughly
acquainted with these things, and that he alone, knowing the
truth as no others did, accomplished the mystery of the
betrayal; by him all things, both earthly and heavenly, were
thus thrown into confusion. They produce a fictitious
history of this kind, which they style the Gospel of
Let me explain the meaning of his warning.
Gnostic groups were not averse to rewriting other people's
scriptures. They would put their own spin on them. That is what
Irenaeus was saying. In his day there was a Gnostic sect called the
Cainites that worshipped Cain as a hero. The Cainites, like many
Gnostic groups, believed that the God of the Old Testament was evil
and inferior to the deity that created the universe. This group,
like many Gnostic groups, glorified and worshipped the biblical
characters that rebelled against the creator God Jehovah and sought
to discover secret knowledge. They would vilify the biblical heroes
and undermine biblically accepted interpretations of the Bible. I
should also note that so called "Christian" Gnosticism began about
150 AD and virtually disappeared by 600 AD.
The Coptic "Gospel of Judas" clearly makes Judas
Some Things You Should Know About The Gospel
First, virtually all scholars agree that the
Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic Gospel; therefore it is opposed to
Second, virtually all scholars agree that the
Judas Iscariot of the Bible did not write this so-called Gospel.
Third, this gospel was NEVER in the running to be
included with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for several reasons, none
the least is that it was written at least a century after the other
for Gospels, which were already accepted by the early church.
How Judas Is Portrayed In This Gnostic Gospel
It says that Judas is the favorite disciple of
Christ. That is not what the Bible indicates. Peter, James and
John are the "inner circle" for
Christ’s friends (Matthew 17:1). John describes
himself as "the disciple that Jesus loved (John 13:23; John 20:2;
Further, Judas is portrayed to be the only
disciple who really understands Jesus. Here is how the
introduction to The Gospel of Judas reads -- "Unlike the
other disciples, who misunderstand Jesus…Judas understands who Jesus
is, and takes his place before him and learns from him." (The
Gospel of Judas – Kasser, Meyer & Wurst; p. 4) We also read that
Jesus took Judas aside for some special instruction – "Step away
from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom."
Like many Gnostic writings, the Gospel of
Judas claims to be an esoteric (hidden, secret) revelation that
Jesus secretly spoke to Judas Iscariot. The opening verse says –
"The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in
conversation with Judas Iscariot during a week three days before he
celebrated the Passover." (The Gospel of Judas – Kasser,
Meyer & Wurst; p. 19)
How diametrically different this Gnostic gospel
is compared to the purpose John wrote his Gospel. John 20:31
"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life
through his name."
Gnostic secrets are CLANDESTINE, written for a
select enlightened few. The Gospels are written to reveal the person
and work of Jesus Christ so that all have an opportunity to believe.
The Gospel of Judas portrays Judas as a
reluctant hero. In this pseudo-gospel, Judas betrays Jesus at
his urging. Jesus states to Judas, "You shall be cursed for
generations – and you will come to rule over them all. In the last
days they will cures your ascent to the holy [generation]. (The
Gospel of Judas – Kasser, Meyer & Wurst; p.33) On page 33 we
read that Christ says, "You will sacrifice the man that clothes me."
This pathetic gospel closes, "He received the
money and handed him over to them."