The Apostate Church: The Modern-Day Judas?


judas-kiss

The Judas Kiss

The story of Judas Iscariot and his betrayal of Jesus may seem like a “one-off” in history, never to be repeated. Yet there is a way of seeing this man and what he did in a broader sense as the ultimate betrayal of the Body of Christ now on earth.

The path that Jesus took towards the cross, in perfect submission to the will of the Father, can be seen as the path his Body must take at the End. And, the motivation and actions of Judas can been seen as the blueprint for another more widespread betrayal in the last days.

As Christ, So His Body

Just as Jesus gave his life in obedience to the Father, so his Body is destined in the latter days to “love not their [own] lives [even] to the point of death” (Revelation 12:11)

Some may be faced with a choice between loyalty or death in the last days. That scenario of course could play out in smaller and less dramatic ways. Not every believer will be called to martyrdom. But the choice will still represent a sacrifice of SELF-LOVE as opposed to the love of God.

Jesus did warn that – faced with the choice of betraying and deserting the Lord or being faithful throughout persecution, hardship or even death – “whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)

This “life” Jesus speaks of losing is not just life in the physical body.

The life he speaks of is everything we hold dear, including friends and family, possessions, career, safety, comfort, respect and the quiet enjoyment of day to day living in our homes and neighbourhoods.

Jesus was willing throughout his life to give up all these things, if necessary, to obey his Father. Eventually it meant he also had to give up his body too.

He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross. (Phil 2:8)

This walk of humility and self-sacrifice, trusting in God for all things, is the calling also of the Church, the Body of Christ. Jesus is the role-model and pattern.

What Does Judas Represent?

If the life, and in particular the death, of Jesus can be seen as the very epitome and type of the obedient and humble Church in her own last days, what then does Judas epitomise?

Judas was a believer! He epitomises a certain section of the current professing Body of Christ. Judas is, I believe, a prophetic type of the apostate Church that we see rising up in this day and age, and for the same purpose. Let me explain why.

Judas was not an enemy of Jesus, nor an unbeliever. From the beginning he was one of the inner circle of disciples, chosen by Jesus to be one of his closest companions.

If not for his defection and death, he would have been numbered among the Apostles! (Like the false ‘apostles’ we have today.) (Acts 1:20)

Judas didn’t hate Jesus, he believed in him! He walked with Jesus daily, heard his teaching and was a follower, a disciple.

Nonetheless, we read that he was obsessed with money, and would take advantage of the money-bag of donations if he could get away with it. He even criticised Mary’s devotion to Jesus by saying the expensive ointment that she poured out over Jesus’ feet could have been sold to raise funds instead. (John 12:6)

Does that perhaps remind you of the attitude of some who profess to be Christians – indeed, apostles and prophets, elders of the Church – but who are much more interested in soliciting funds to enrich their own lives?

What other reason but greed drives a so-called Christian leader [Jim Bakker, a convicted fraudster] to ask for a sum of 100,000 dollars for a few worthless trinkets? (Page saved from the store on his website).

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Known From The Beginning

Judas was one of the chosen, yet Jesus called him “a devil”. We might wonder why Jesus allowed Judas the opportunity to become close to him, knowing what would happen. Yet these things were ordained by God!

So also the history of the Body of Christ must also play out as God has ordained, for God’s own eternal purposes.

We cannot understand today why God allows apostates and greedy liars to commandeer the airwaves and pulpits, without apparent rebuke, any more than we can understand why Jesus allowed Judas to sit with him at the same table at the Last Supper, knowing that he would betray him for money.

Yet there is a PLAN.

Judas, False Apostle

Consider this. The motivation that compelled Judas to go to the authorities, and agree to provide Jesus’s location, was not as simple as we think. Greed yes, but discovering that his plan had failed Judas bitterly regretted those silver coins and tried to give them back.

When Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was filled with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood,” he said. “What is that to us?” they replied. “You bear the responsibility.” (Matt 27:3-4)

No, it wasn’t just the money – or else why would Judas be filled with remorse? As with the false preachers today, something more sinister and potentially more damaging was driving him onwards.

He longed to “bring about the kingdom of God” on earth, to enthrone Jesus as KING, to take his place as an honoured co-ruler with the Messiah and by doing so overthrow all his enemies. Sounds familiar?

Here is just one false apostle (Robert Henderson) declaring his authority over the earth:

“We are here with complete divine authority and power to see His will done on the earth. Until we begin to step into this, the world is going to continue to have problems, nations are going to continue to shake, things are not going to come into the place that they need to – not because Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit aren’t able to bring it about but because we are afraid to take up our position and be the “Christ” on the earth.” {Source]

Was Judas a Zealot?

Judas was called Iscariot. What does the name mean?

Some say it means he came from Issachar. Others say that ‘Iscariot’ may link Judas to the Jewish dagger-assassins known as the Sicarii. In Jesus’ day there was a group of Jewish insurrectionists supporting a violent overthrow of the Roman occupancy who were called “Sicarii” — literally “people who wield daggers.” This suggests that Judas was a Jewish zealot who advocated violence against the Roman empire.

Could it mean that Judas was actually a zealot seeking a military uprising against Rome? Maybe so. I feel that it explains his motives.

If Judas was indeed a zealot (which we cannot know for sure, but it is possible) then his motivation in following the Messiah was much more about overthrowing Rome than eternal salvation.

Having waited and watched for three years, Judas must have been getting irritated at the slow progress of this new ‘king of Israel’, the Messiah he believed was destined to bring in God’s kingdom and establish the Jews as masters of their own destiny once more.

Jesus seemed to be avoiding conflict with the authorities rather than opposing them. He had the people on his side, but walked away when the crowds wanted to “compel him to become king”. (John 6:15)

Although Judas has seen the miraculous power that Jesus possessed, he chafed that Jesus wasn’t using it to call down divine retribution on the Romans and the Jews that worked with them.

The “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem was another example of “an opportunity lost” in the eyes of Judas.

The King’s Triumphal Entry

triumphal entry

The Triumphal Entry

After the astounding miracle of the raising of Lazarus, the crowds gathered around Jesus laying palm branches and their clothes on the ground to welcome him as he makes his way to the Temple in Jerusalem.

The people sang part of Psalm 118: 25-26: “Hosanna! [Save us!] Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9) – a reference to the coming Messiah – and the whole city is stirred by his arrival.

Matthew’s account says “all the city was moved” and the word “moved” in the Greek text means a convulsing and shaking, as by an earthquake or storm wind. This entrance was not a quiet understated affair. Judas must have rejoiced that his moment had come at last!

The choice of arriving on the “colt of a donkey” would not have been lost on the crowds either, since they knew their KING would appear to them in that way. Zechariah wrote:

“Behold, your king comes to you, triumphant and victorious. He is humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zech 9:9)

But later on, seeing no sign of a follow-up to all the excitement, Judas must have been brooding angrily. It was then the devil suggested to him that forcing a confrontation would lead to that end, that Jesus – if arrested and brought before the elders – would surely call down an avenging angelic army (of which he was capable – Matthew 26:53) to establish his kingship there and then.

Judas may have understood his scriptures correctly; he may have wanted the right result. But he totally misunderstood God’s ways.

What then is the parallel today?

  • Jesus represents the believing Church – who do long to see the Kingdom but are not willing to go outside of God’s will to bring it about.
  • Judas on the other hand represents the zealots who (for reasons which they believe are good and biblical) want to force the issue themselves.

That this, tragically, results in the imprisonment, torture and death of Jesus Christ/His Body is something that perhaps neither Judas NOR the current batch of New Apostles foresee. But it could and probably will happen.

Does Jesus not warn that eventually those who persecute you will believe they are serving God? “The time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.” (John 16:2)

They may do it, as the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, using the State officials and justice system (the religious elders couldn’t crucify anyone: “But we have no right to execute anyone” (John 18:31)) yet they are still responsible for the betrayal and trials that ensue.

Remorse?

Judas, when he realised that he was responsible for the death of the Messiah instead of the Kingdom of God, was filled with remorse, and hanged himself.

Perhaps, in the end, when Jesus does come to rescue and glorify his Church, this modern-day Judas company will also wake up to their error and while they are banging on Heaven’s door demanding that they be admitted, (Luke 13:25)  – for surely they are the most zealous and powerful of all believers, having done all “in the name of the Lord”? (Matthew 7:22) – they will finally realise, as did Judas, that they have been conned by the devil.

Judas was a coward to the last, choosing suicide rather than facing up to his mistake.

Perhaps for some left on earth after the door closes, suicide will seem the only option, but that too will result in judgement, not salvation. Are they the ones who turn up at the wedding feast “without wedding clothes”? (Matthew 22:12)

Conclusion

What do we take away from all this?

A choice between following the Lord and choosing the world is not the only option. For some, believing in God, praying, going to church, reading the scriptures and worshipping regularly have not led to any real inner change. It has become a means to an end.

Just as with Judas, sins (like greed, pride, ambition) have not been laid aside but continue to fester, eventually opening a pathway to the devil’s suggestions.

Then, something that appears to be scriptural, offering an alternative to humility and endurance, becomes the snare that leads to a betrayal of the core message of the very Messiah they claim to worship.

While believing themselves to be the architects of a New World they will bring about the Tribulation. They will eventually depart from the Lord and instead of being the faithful Bride of Christ become a Harlot who gives herself to another, to bring about [as they suppose] the fulfillment of scripture!

What does the word say?

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. MANY will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

3 thoughts on “The Apostate Church: The Modern-Day Judas?

  1. Like Peter after his three time denial of Jesus, Judas could have turned his remorse into repentance, but instead chose a more tragic path.
    So there is hope (for a time) for those who are currently doing the wrong thing. But that opportunity will not always be there. (Craig’s reference to 2 Thess is an apt alarm to be heeded.)

    Jim Bakker was given a second chance, and after his release from prison, for a time, seemed to have learned the error of his ways. Sadly he has clearly returned to his vomit.

    Like

  2. Greetings Tricia!
    This was a very informative and truthful post that definitely shows the parallel of Judas and the modern apostate church.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Like

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