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Was Judas’ Name Written in Heaven?

“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”  – Luke 10:20

These words of our Lord are recorded for us in Luke 10:20.  We can assume that Judas was among these rejoicing in Luke 10:17 though he nor any of the other Apostles are listed among them.  We only have the record that states that the Lord appointed seventy-two (Luke 10:1) and sent them out.  The rejoicing continues in Luke 10:21-22 with Jesus rejoicing Himself in the Spirit.  In Luke 10:23-24 we read:

23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

Notice that Jesus is speaking to His disciples.  He is not speaking to the world but to His close friends, His own chosen disciples (John 15:16).  He calls them blessed for what they see and hear.  This would include Judas.

Was Judas’ name then recorded in heaven as stated by Jesus in Luke 10:20?  The Bible is not clear.  Again, Judas is not mentioned in the text nor are any other Apostles listed.  But Jesus could not be merely saying to the seventy-two that their names only are recorded in heaven.

We must remember that Jesus chose Judas.  We read of His choosing of Judas in Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:14-19; and Luke 6:13-16.  Luke 6:12 records that Jesus spent all night praying before making His choice of His twelve Apostles.  The Greek word for Apostles means “sent one.”  The Bible uses the word apostles in two ways in the New Testament.  The Twelve Apostles of Christ are often designated by the Twelve while apostles such as Paul or Barnabas are simply called apostles.  Jesus chose Judas to be among His Apostles and we read in Luke 6:16 that Judas “became a traitor” and not that he was always a traitor.

While Jesus’ choosing of His Twelve did not guarantee their salvation, Jesus said that they were clean (John 15:3) and He said that they were blessed even more than the Prophets of the Old Testament because of what they were seeing with their own eyes and hearing with their own ears (Luke 10:23-24).  We can safely say that those whom Jesus had chosen were dear friends to Him and close to Him and had the honor of walking with the living God day after day.  It would be hard to imagine then that the Apostles were not transformed men.  Their insight into God would have been tremendous.  John the Beloved even records in John 21:25:

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Can you imagine what the Apostles saw?  What they heard from Jesus Himself?  What teachings, what miracles?  John tells us that the Gospels do not even fully contain all that He did.  The sinless Lamb of God lived a life that none of us have ever known or seen other than in the Bible.  The Apostles, including Judas, witnessed it firsthand.  They not only heard Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 5-7 but they heard and saw much more.  We can only speculate to what they saw but John says that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.  Amazing!

And yet Judas still betrayed the Lord Jesus.  One of the saddest words are found in Luke 22:3:

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve.

Had Judas always been a child of Satan then surely these words would make no sense.  Judas opened himself up to Satan and Satan entered Judas to betray Jesus and to hopefully destroy Jesus.  Notice that Luke records that Satan entered Judas and he adds, “who was of the number of the twelve.”  Adam Clarke’s comments on Luke 22:3 are worth reading:

The devil filled the heart of Judas with avarice; and that infamous passion led him to commit the crime here specified. This at once accounts for the whole of this most unprincipled and unnatural transaction. None but a devil, or he who is possessed by one, could have been guilty of it: – let the living lay this to heart. A minister of the Gospel, who is a lover of money, is constantly betraying the interests of Christ. He cannot serve two masters; and while his heart is possessed with the love of pelf, the love of God and zeal for perishing souls cannot dwell in him. What Satan could not do by the envy and malice of the high priests and Pharisees, he effects by Judas, a false and fallen minister of the Gospel of God. None are so dangerous to the interests of Christianity as persons of this stamp.

John Calvin writes about Luke 22:3:

With good reason, therefore, does Luke expressly say that Satan entered into him; not that the Spirit of God formerly directed him, for he would not have been addicted to theft and robbery, if he had not been the slave of Satan. But Luke means, that he was at that time wholly given up to Satan, so that, like a desperate man, he violently sought his destruction. For though Satan drives us every day to crimes, and reigns in us, when he hurries us into a course of extraordinary wickedness; yet he is said to enter into the reprobate, when he takes possession of all their senses, overthrows the fear of God, extinguishes the light of reason, and destroys every feeling of shame. This extremity of vengeance God does not execute on any but those who are already devoted to destruction. Let us therefore learn to repent early, lest our long-continued harshness should confirm the reign of Satan within us; for as soon as we have been abandoned to this tyranny, his rage will have no bounds. It is particularly worthy of notice, that the cause and source of so great blindness in Judas was avarice, which makes it evident that it is justly denominated by Paul the root of all evils, (1 Timothy 6:10.) To inquire here whether or not Satan entered into Judas bodily is an idle speculation. We ought rather to consider how fearfully monstrous it is, that men formed after the image of God, and appointed to be temples for the Holy Spirit, should not only be turned into filthy stables or sinks, but should become the wretched abodes of Satan.

A.T. Robertson wrote on Luke 22:3:

Satan was now renewing his attack on Jesus suspended temporarily ( Luke 4:13 ) “until a good chance.” He had come back by the use of Simon Peter ( Mark 8:33 ; Matthew 16:23 ). The conflict went on and Jesus won ultimate victory (Luke 10:18 ). Now Satan uses Judas and has success with him for Judas allowed him to come again and again ( John 13:27 ). Judas evidently opened the door to his heart and let Satan in. Then Satan took charge and he became a devil as Jesus said ( John 6:70 ). This surrender to Satan in no way relieves Judas of his moral responsibility.

Whatever we may think of Judas Iscariot as to whether he was saved or not or whether his name was written in heaven or not, we know that Luke 22:3 records the sad truth that Satan entered him to betray Jesus.  The same is true today.  Satan still works to betray the Lord Jesus.  He raises up false prophets and he sends out false preachers who lead the people astray.  Even Paul the Apostle worried about the churches he wrote to such as we read of his words in 2 Corinthians 11:1-4:

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! 2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

We must guard what the Lord has given us.  We must guard against doctrinal errors (2 Timothy 4:1-5) and we must preach the truth of God (Titus 2:1).  We must guard against false christs (Matthew 24:5) and false prophets (Matthew 24:11).  We must not turn away from Jesus nor His gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).  We must guard what has been deposited in us by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:13-14).  We can only do all this as we love the gospel and adore the Lord Jesus.


Whether we believe that Judas’ name was in heaven is not relevant in the end.  How one ends their life is just as vital as how one begins their spiritual life.  John 6:70 records that Jesus called Judas “a devil” (ESV).  Adam Clarke writes about John 6:71:

He who was about to deliver him up. By referring to this matter so often, did not our blessed Lord intend to warn Judas? Was not the evil fully exposed to his view? And who dare say that it was impossible for him to avoid what he had so often been warned against? When the temptation did take place, and his heart, in purpose, had brought forth the sin, might he not have relented, fallen at his injured master’s feet, acknowledge his black offense, and implored forgiveness? And surely his most merciful Lord would have freely pardoned him.

I agree with Dr. Clarke.  I believe the Lord Jesus loved Judas and was seeking to warn Judas.  He wanted Judas to repent.  He didn’t want Judas to go to hell.  Our Lord is merciful as we read in 2 Peter 3:9.  While we know that Judas did not repent, we have his story recorded for us so that we might not betray the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:12).  May we remain in love with our Savior and with the truth of His gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).


Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/06/2013 at 10:00 AM

One Response

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  1. Your Biblical and logical presentation uses the example of Judas well to demonstrate that all of us need to guard what the Lord has given us.

    Bob Hunter

    08/06/2013 at 1:51 PM

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