Judas Iscariot is perhaps one of the most famous disciples of Jesus. However, unlike Peter, John, and the other disciples, Judas is famous for the wrong reasons – because he is the one who betrayed Jesus. After betraying Jesus, he felt remorseful and tried returning the money he had been paid. However, this didn’t work and so he decided to commit suicide. This has led to a lot of speculation on whether or not he went to heaven.
So did Judas go to heaven? The Bible does not explicitly state whether Judas went to heaven or not. However, by piecing a couple of things Jesus said together, it becomes clear that Judas did not go to heaven. For instance, Judas did not repent and Jesus referred to him as a devil.
There are a few questions that we need to answer to know whether or not Judas went to heaven. These are:
- Did Judas believe in Jesus?
- Did Judas repent?
- Could Judas have been saved?
Let’s address each of these individually.
Did Judas Believe In Jesus?
We know from scripture that salvation comes only by believing in Jesus Christ. Jesus categorically stated that he was the only way to the Father when he said:
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
An even more profound reference is given in the Book of Acts during the Paul and Silas incident in prison. After singing and praising God fervently, there was an earthquake in the prison and all the shackles of the prisoners were broken. When the jailers realized this, they figured the prisoners had escaped and were considering committing suicide. However, Paul assured him that they were all there so there was no reason to be afraid. The jailer was so mesmerized that he asked Paul and Silas what he needed to do to be saved. To this, Paul and Silas answered:
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:31
It therefore follows that for Judas to have gone to heaven, he must have first believed in Jesus. Unfortunately, it appears Judas did not believe in Jesus. We can infer this from a couple of things Jesus said concerning Judas. First, he called him a devil when he said:
“Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” John 6:70.
We know the devil is evil and by calling Judas the devil, he was referring to the evil nature of his heart. But even evil men can get saved and go to heaven. Jesus also referred to Peter as a devil but we know Peter eventually came back to his senses and became one of the leading apostles in the New Testament church. However, there is no evidence that Judas mended his ways. On the contrary, scripture says:
But some of you do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. John 6:64
So, since Judas did not believe in Jesus, we can infer that he did not go to heaven.
Did Judas Repent?
Even though Judas betrayed Jesus, he immediately felt sorry for doing it. Maybe Judas thought that even if he betrayed Jesus, he wouldn’t be killed. But when it got real, he felt sorry for his part.
When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. Mathew 27:3
However, feeling remorseful is not synonymous with repenting. Even though Judas felt bad about what he had done, he did not act on the feelings by repenting. Instead, he tried to solve the problem by returning the money he had been paid to betray Jesus. However, the religious leaders did not want the money back. According to the Book of Acts:
With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Acts 1:18
It would appear that he was too guilty and decided to end his life. A more appropriate response to the guilt would have been to repent. If he had, God would have forgiven him and readily accepted him into his kingdom. We know that because the Scripture says:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:19
Could Judas Have Been Saved?
There are two schools of thought. On one hand, some argue that Judas was a hopeless case that could not earn salvation. Others believe that he could be saved if he had asked God for forgiveness. So, what does the Bible say about it?
Granted, the Bible does not explicitly state whether or not Judas was saved or if he could or could not be saved. However, we can make an inference based on what the Scripture teaches about salvation.
Firstly, the Bible teaches that all of us are sinners. In Romans 3:23, Paul reminds us that all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. Secondly, it is worth noting that sin is a sin in God’s eyes (irrespective of what sin it is). As such, we can not point fingers at what Judas did and conclude that he could not be saved.
Thirdly, Jesus taught that there was only one unpardonable sin – blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Since Judas did not blaspheme the holy spirit, there is no scriptural basis for saying that he was beyond salvation. All factors considered, it would be accurate to infer that Judas – just like the rest of us – could have been saved.
In conclusion, the question of whether Judas Iscariot went to heaven remains a matter of speculation, as the Bible does not provide a definitive answer. However, based on the available evidence, it is likely that Judas did not go to heaven. He did not believe in Jesus, as indicated by Jesus referring to him as a devil. Furthermore, although he felt remorse for betraying Jesus, he did not repent and instead took his own life. While it’s not explicitly stated in the Bible, it is possible that Judas, like all sinners, could have been saved if he had turned to God in true repentance. But since he didn’t, we can infer that he didn’t go to heaven.