Acts 1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) 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. 24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
We find the betrayer listed in John 12:4 as Judas Iscariot. That term, Iscariot, is not a last name, as we know today. It is an identification of him as far as where he came from. It literally means, man of Keriot! Keriot is a city in Judah as listed in Joshua 15:25.
And we must also note that the presence of Judas within the number of the twelve apostles is not a human mistake! It wasn’t just that someone failed to properly screen an applicant! This was most assuredly established as a direct work by the hand of God. In fact, the word betrayed as used of Judas in John 18:2,5 is the exact same word delivered … up in Romans 8:32! And there we find it was God the Father, that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? It was the Godhead’s full intent to betray, or deliver up the eternal Son of God for the satisfaction of God and the salvation of mankind! For the Lord Jesus Christ was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev. 13:8).
And in Acts 2:23 we find the proper blending of both the sovereign predestination of God and the defining of the responsible involvements of man in carrying out these determined things. Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
But how could the hands be classified as wicked since the Father would have the Son delivered up for the redemption of His elect? Because Judas and all others who gave their hands to the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus didn’t do so for the glory of God, nor for the salvation of a single soul! Judas did it strictly and selfishly for the money! They did it from a sinful motive! And all sin, even though it works together for the good purposes of God, must be punished!
Be assured, dear reader that God is always in absolute control of all his affairs and none can stop him from his eternal purposes in Christ Jesus! Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
And be assured that every human shall give account of every word and every deed done in his body! Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Romans 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
The Lord Jesus Christ chose Judas to be counted among the twelve apostles! John 6:69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. 70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? 71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. Peter was voicing his certainty that, although many of Christ’s disciples had just walked away from him, never to return, (v.66), the twelve were still there, firmly convinced of who Jesus was! But the Lord Jesus firmly states that even though Judas was chosen, he was never elected! And even one among the twelve would also fall away!
Dear ones, there is a difference in those who only receive gifts from the Holy Spirit and those who receive grace! There is a vast difference in one who only has grace on his tongue, from one who has grace in his heart! 1Cor. 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. It is only the love of God implanted in the soul of man by regenerating grace that fits a man never to fail, but to endure all things! (1 Corin. 13:7,8).
The great Apostle Paul clearly understood this! 1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Let us also consider these verses: 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. 19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am (he). Herein lies the purpose of God in the choosing of Judas. It was told, not just from the mouth of Jesus to the ears of his disciples, but as Peter states in our above listed text, it was written of by King David, hundreds of years before! And it was done so in order that the world would know that when this manifested itself in reality, the one who set it forth was clearly seen to be The I AM!
Let us also consider the communion of the Son, by the Spirit unto the Father is his recorded prayer of John seventeen. John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. Hence we see that the Godhead was in full agreement in the earthly work of the Son, which included Judas being lost for the fulfilling of the scriptures; this being stated at the very time of the appointed atonement! There then, can be no doubt that God, in his absolute sovereignty purposed Judas to be involved among the twelve apostles, never granting him the birth from above, and therefore leaving him to be forever lost!
We are not permitted to question God’s integrity. But when he is pleased to show us in his word such truths that reveal why he set forth certain things, we may seek these out. And here are passages that reveal light into this matter. Matthew 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Only the way of the cross, the way of much tribulation provides one spiritual entrance into the kingdom of God! (Acts 14:22).
Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Those who do not know their personal sin, certainly do not know any personal repentance. And those who have not had their sin to become exceedingly sinful only need some two-for-a-nickel Jesus!
Also we read in our passage that it was In those days that Peter stood up! And this is the very issue upon his heart and mind that forced him to assume authority! And here then, is another reason for a Judas. 1 Cor. 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. For not only is the foretelling of him as far back as the times of King David towards the revealing of the Lord Jesus being The I AM, but it also reveals that, due to this issue, the Holy Spirit prompts Peter to begin to assume the role of spokesperson at the beginning of the New Testament church!
But this is not the first time that the Lord God placed a reprobate into a position of high authority! For the Lord Christ dealt with Judas’ father, the devil (John 8:44), in Matthew chapter four, before he calls Judas to be one of the twelve in Matthew chapter ten! And have you ever wondered just why the apostle takes up the first two chapters of the Book of Hebrews clarifying just what role angels do, and do not play in the theater of redemption? It is because the very first apostate was a mighty angel, of the highest authority! And upon reading Ezekiel 1:26; 28:11-19, there can be no doubt that this was set forth by God! For in Ezekiel 28:14 God clearly states, And I have set thee so!”
But remember, God did not ‘create’ the Devil! He created a holy being, who, by reason of pride in his own glory, became the Devil! Ezekiel 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness:
The Lord God did this also for such heathen rulers as Pharaoh and Cyrus! Listen as he speaks of his servant, Cyrus! Isaiah 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; 4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
And also of Pharaoh we read in Romans 9:17, For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Therefore before the Lord gave to his true apostles the apostate Judas, by which to wrestle with the mystery of God’s absolute sovereignty, (remember our above listed verse in John 13:19), Christ dealt with the attempted usurper of his own station who claimed for himself to be like the Most High! For both Satan and Christ claimed this position!
Of Satan we read in Isaiah 14:14, I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. And of the Lord Jesus we read in John 14:9, Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Therefore there was reproduced among the disciples the struggle between two assertive characters for the domination of the group – Judas and Peter! As this, just as there was two characters who were set forth for the warfare of sovereignty over the entire creation of God – Lucifer and Jesus! Lucifer was a created “son of God! Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
But the Lord Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God! Hebrews 1:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. 7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. 8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
Matt. 17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. Bro. Gene.