Judas, Out of the Blue

When Jesus Christ was in the custody of the Sanhedrin, Judas Iscariot showed up, sort of at the side door, out of the blue. He said to them, “I sinned; I handed over to you an innocent man.” [Matthew 27:4 NCV] And he threw the 30 pieces of silver they had paid him back at them. Innocent? Had he thought during the handing over that Jesus was guilty? One might believe he always believed the Lord to have been innocent. One imagines that when he was making the deal, that it was not foremost on his mind that they were going to have him killed. Did he actually think he were doing the right thing, those hours ago? I will contend that of all the mysterious motives for him to perform the act, there is one more likely than the rest: he had been told to do it, by Jesus himself. After Jesus was in their clutches, Judas lost his nerve and goes back to them, they so keen on snatching up our Lord. He had found out somewhat later that they meant to kill him, and so the rescue attempt, however ineffective.

As is the common thought, did he have a change of heart from the time he handed Jesus over to recognize what he had done was wrong? Which would mean he hadn’t thought it was wrong before, and he did now. There must have been a good reason in Judas’ head why he handed the Lord over, at least, at the time. Had he at that point with the kiss not been convinced Jesus was the Christ? It seems unlikely that anyone who had been there for all the miracles—who was one of the ones who had been sent out by the Lord to perform miracles in his name—unlikely that he would not think Jesus was somehow sent by God, in some degree divine or holy.

If this were so, if Judas realized Jesus were holy, then either handing him over was the right thing to do or Judas suddenly and inexplicably became evil. Or perhaps it had been building the whole time? Or was he evil from the first? (That one unlikely by most imaginations, unless the entire discipleship, leading to the “handover” and throwing the money back at them was the way, ultimately, to redeem an originally evil person.) Or perhaps he became jealous of Jesus’ authority, and he was fixing that problem with a prejudice. …except then, some hours after, he repented…

One is used to thinking of Judas as evil. We rail against changing a story that is that well known, that you know by heart. It is practically ingrained in you. You will reflexively fight to defend what you know to be true: gospel truth, right? But often in studying the myth, the ugly head of reality peeks through, to see things we might not have thought of at the outset.

There have been theories as to how this myth (the myth of Judas the Betrayer) formed, like how Mary Magdalene were made into a repentant whore. Which now is pretty certain that was not the case. So, this “Mary Magdalene effect”—what if it happened as the gospels were being gathered, and written down? And the myth of the betrayal of Judas made it into the canon, with some other questionable parts, and now we accept it as being part and parcel of the Truth?

People don’t even think about it any other way but the way we were taught in Sunday school, the accepted story being so prevalent. But what if, instead of him out of nowhere turning evil, Jesus Christ himself told Judas to hand him over, for it was his time? It makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE. Jesus Christ had not chosen a bad egg, who was completely blind to his divinity. Judas volunteered to hand him over, when the opportunity arose. Why did it end up being told the way it was told, how we’ve come to know it? If you know any Bible scholarship, there’s a lot in that grand text that became as it was by various competing forces. Much of Isaiah, for instance, is thought not to have been written by Isaiah. And Biblical infallibility? That it is useful in any matter of faith? Judas being innocent may be the greatest of the whole Bible in which when you see it as being wrong, it makes no difference in how we are to worship God. There are other parts, too, that we now believe are just incorrect. And it perhaps diminishes the Bible in thinking we cannot inject reason into it and have it survive the medicine. Faith should be stronger.

In reading the Scriptures, it strikes one as to how—sometimes—it is, if not inaccurate, imprecise. Like the Babylonian exile. Even if the exile being not exactly 70 years is not brought to scrutiny, there is stuff in there about Babylon being overtaken in kind of a cataclysm, which presumably would have immediately preceded the Jews being released. But Babylon, for a historical fact, did not fall violently. Isaiah 13:19 says, “Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians’ pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah.” But that didn’t happen. It is true the Jews were released, but nothing like how prophecy laid it down.

To which the enlightened Christian will say, “the Bible is not history.” Yea, verily. I will state a commonly held scholarly belief: the writers of the Gospel had a certain agenda, each of them, in writing them. Their motives were not to provide the most accurate account of what had happened decades before they first put pen to paper. And they most likely did not accurately attribute those writings, either (John didn’t write John). So what do we believe? One can yet find the message in the Gospels, even if they are not all fact, in fact. And that’s likely what the Gospels were meant to impart: the Message. Of a man who was God but did not lord it over everyone, even if that’s what they called him. Who came to serve instead of being served, who did not conquer but took the worst that the world had to give and still was able to love it all. And us all. Who asked God to forgive those who were murdering him, for they knew not what they did. How is it served by blaming one of his closest associates for a baffling betrayal? Is that account of betrayal perhaps the tip of an iceberg?

I get this starting from Klassen. This is what scholarship tells us: Judas = Judah = Jude = where the term “Jew” comes from. It was a time when Christianity was turning from a Jewish base to a primarily gentile following. In moving away from the jurisdiction of “the Jews” as the later Gospels call them, the followers become anti-Jewish, pro-Roman, to the point where in their “good news”, “the Jews” cry out about their King… really? to crucify him, and further, “His blood be on us and our children!” And Pontius Pilate—who was removed from office at a later point for being excessively vicious—he was actually the good guy! Washing his hands of the whole affair (a Jewish gesture). One cannot look at this critically and not see something very wrong with this picture.

So, it was who that crucified the Lord? The Jews? Even if, as a rule, the Jews did not crucify anyone. The Jews, represented in singular form by Judas, the convenient prototype, who is in fact named so prototypically. That we don’t now associate Judas with Jews in general anymore does tell us that the point of time is past the limit of relevance, and it may be now to reevaluate what exactly we believe and why. Because we understand that many constructs within the Bible are now antiquated, and some things have to be most severely interpreted, warped from their original positions, to make sense currently. We do not stone to death someone who has blasphemed anymore. And as for the New Testament, am I taking crazy pills, or does the text not at least imply the thought that Jesus Christ was coming back real soon in relation to those first-century disciples? We interpret that away, don’t we? These are those warpings. We have grown used to them.

Judas has become a device. Once again, we look to Mary Magdalene. How convenient that we have a fallen woman that the Lord had turned from her wicked ways. But as we come into the future, we may find that the figure of Mary Magdalene may be rehabilitated, if the actual person never needed such saving as was thought. Judas is another matter. His position among the damned we learn from the mouth of the Lord himself, as (part of the) “gospel”. Why should we believe differently, could that truly have been so wrong? Well, if you found out that the past did not happen as the Bible said, do you still believe that part of the Bible? I mean, factually. If your answer is yes, I can only shake the dust from my sandals and bid you good day.

“I sinned; I handed over to you an innocent man,” he said. Why do we so desperately want a villain? The most foul one imaginable, one in the inner circle who turned evil, like the Lucifer myth. But then, let’s say that Jesus had told Judas to turn him over, why does he try and rescue his master? Perhaps like the other disciples scattering at Gethsemane the night before, without the Lord, he lost his nerve. He wanted his teacher back. If he were, in fact, guilty, why would he not have run away? Instead, he shows up, out of the blue, and said as if confessing, “I sinned.” I have done something wrong, I know it. This couldn’t be what he actually wanted. “I handed over to you an innocent man.” I am telling you, me, the one who gave him to you, this cannot be the plan: you do not put an innocent to death!

The Lord had said he was going to be turned over, but his disciples did not understand. Peter took him aside and told him not to speak of such things. The Lord said he was going to be handed over to be crucified, but that thought had not hit, just yet, when Judas identified him with a kiss in the darkness. Without the Lord, when Jesus Christ let himself be taken, the disciples were at a loss as to what to do. They fled. Peter would follow the ones that had taken him, but ended up denying him three times in his course.

Surely all this could not have been what was supposed to happen? The reality of it was so different from the words that had described it. They had been in his presence when he spoke of these things, and without him was gone all courage, all reason, all sense.

“I sinned; I handed over to you an innocent man.” He repented, as if he had needed to. This was courage, do you not see? But it is written: he was a villain. You can say what you want, but what a billion say is truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—how can you argue with what is there in plain black and white? The simple fact? You can’t. But you can know better. Just like you can see that the story of Adam and Eve didn’t actually happen like that, you can see that Judas is blameless. Because it makes no sense, the conventional story. He was Judas, Judah, Jude: a symbol for “the Jews”, who killed our Lord and Savior. The death story of our Lord has suspect things throughout it. Will you not accept the spirit of the story instead of holding on to the letter? Perhaps now, we can be trusted with that canniness, to go in the direction the Bible is pointing toward, in spite of all that’s wrong with it. If you don’t think there is anything wrong with it, read it. We as a people did not remain unchanging in how our heart reacted and reacts. We found, and continually find, what is the good and what is the better that we can make of this world. Open your eyes/have eyes to see. Forgive everyone. Yes! Forgive everyone! For if we do that, it doesn’t even matter who is innocent or guilty, right? Right? And it’s not ours to judge, anyway. Right?

If you like what’s written here, check out my book, Memoirs from the War in Heaven.

Other 3

This is my third, and final excerpt from my other book, The Gospel According to Judas. It’s about Cartesian doubt:

Descartes said that it is useful at some point in the history of our minds to doubt all things. He actually didn’t go far enough, in that concluding the Cogito, “I think therefore I am,” this lends, for its own purpose, a certainty to basic logic. Because it is logically that if I were not, then I could not be thinking. Substantively, therefore, as far as we are used to very fundamental things behaving, it is irrefutable. One might think someone daft, in fact, if he were to say that such a reliance on logic is in any way deficient. But if we do not hold that this is sure, that things could possibly behave in ways they never have, even if not in any case we have studied, we come upon a very interesting viewpoint. It is to say that we do not notice that miracles happen every day, simply because they happen every day.

Let me explain. If we do not take for granted things holding together: solidity, cause and effect, time itself: we may begin to see how awesome is the most common of things. Try it. Look at the basic building blocks that you may perceive about the universe. Things we do not in any case doubt that they could fail. It may be difficult: these miracles happen every day, they sustain us hour by hour, second by second. How magnificent the verymost mundane. If you begin to perceive how awesome are the most common experiences, you begin to spy the mystery of the God who is love. The very fact that there is such a thing as quality that may be felt: that there is feeling at all! We may begin here finally to make sense of things. And therefore, to wonder.

For we are born wired in the ways of space and distance, and the ordering and passage of time. We are born knowing an astounding number of things. How is it we first grasp at anything with our hand? The knowledge of sending out the correct signal from the mind, we are given. How is it that we imitate a sound we hear? Such correlation is an amazing thing, not one to simply take as standard issue. To think of one thing as tasting different from another, to look and to comprehend size, many vs. the one; spectacular is such faculty.

Now this is beyond astounding, too: we are born knowing how to learn. Anyone who knows what it takes to teach our machines to do the most rudimentary form of learning will tell you that it is no small thing. No, indeed. And in that vein, pleasure and pain we are born knowing, too, born comprehending, no less. It doesn’t even require the learning, the tools we need to learn other things. Play and boredom, too: how we understand what to pursue in the courses we take; also given us, a higher form of pleasure and pain. They are a higher form of abstraction, like existence itself, known only by the things that exist: play only in terms of the games that invoke that sensation, “fun”. All these are given you.

The question is not, “what do we know?”, but “what can we forget?” Can we truly forget the notions of time and space? Can we forget being? For if we truly wish to do as Descartes advised, we must forget these things. Let us to forget functioning of any sort: can we do that? Perhaps that is the key. This is to doubt the logic of the very of mundane, that logic which allows one to be certain that when one says, “I am”, he cannot be refuted. Let us then be able to refute that, to think in a situation where nothing makes sense, and maybe we can go deeper down the rabbit hole than Descartes himself thought it went. And then perhaps we may worthily approach that lesson that Jesus Christ gave my own self, while I was in the pit: “Work is magic.”


I have lived two lives. Not that there was not overlap between the two, but I am reminded of Agent Smith’s first meeting with Neo in The Matrix. In the “daylight hours” I am a successful computer professional, while “by night” I battle demons and I am friends with angels. Is it like Agent Smith told Neo? Does only one of those two lives have a future in it? One of my friends declined to edit my first book about the Event because the good parts, the philosophical musings, were mixed in with the madness, and it made him uncomfortable to try and sort the things out in those pages. Yeah, I’ll admit, talking to Albert Einstein (and even weirder, like my interaction with Rosanna Arquette, who is still alive) do smack of the mental illness I have in fact been diagnosed with. But I count myself in good company as far as the “voices” are concerned; for there are some who count Philip K. Dick’s later years and even Joan of Arc’s otherworldly encounters merely symptomatic of similar, mentally divergent diagnoses.

The thing about it is, I draw no divider myself between the crazy and transcendent. One has affected the other, some of my best insight having been inspired by, if not directly taken from, my talking to my “voices”. In this sense, they are real, if not normal according to the world at large. If you don’t believe there is an unseen world, that religion is itself a fantasy at best, you will not believe in anything like what I describe. But I tell you, you’re missing out. My “voices” have helped me to be a better person, and I’m not saying that everyone who hears things is a prophet. Not at all. But if what comes from those things is positive, life affirming, morally honorable—why would you not believe in them? Because they’re not “real”? What if they simply make your life better all around? This “affliction” of mine, either God sent it my way or He made what was there work for the good, for me. And it is not that I have never thought that they were just the invention of a chemical imbalance. But I like to say, I have had so much evidence for their being real in some sense that it would be irrational for me not to believe.

I will not outline all the reasons I have to believe in the reality of my encounters; some are very personal, and I would have to go through my whole life story to make sense of them. The biggest sign, though? Once the Shekinah pulled something like a lever inside my imagination, and I had 20/20 vision for a day. Sure, with the other things I have seen, you could just brush them off as saying that I was hallucinating; but I have terrible vision, and have worn corrective lenses since the third grade. You can’t explain that little miracle away except to say that I must be lying. And if that’s the path you choose to reason, I can go no further in my argument with you and I bid you good day. I am not a liar. If you say no miracle is possible, here are the words of Henri Poincaré for you: “To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.”

I feel for all the people who have had really crazy things happen to them, and no one would believe them. UFO sightings may be easy to explain away, but I have no idea what a UFO abduction really is. I know that eyewitness accounts are very susceptible to error, and that “I know what I saw” doesn’t make what they say happened any more believable. But some things are only impossible until it happens to you. Myself, I have been witness to many incredible things, as you may discover yourself if you read these pages. What do these things say? In the greater scope of things, just to tell you 2 things: 1) the War in Heaven is over, and the good guys won; 2) the Beginning is near, and we will soon enter into an Age of Gold from an Age of Iron. Maybe 3 things: 3) Jesus Christ isn’t coming back for another 40,000 years. And about 1), it’s a War in Eternity, so it actually is scattered through time, and you might not have heard the last of it. The middle parts of it, anyway.

It’s only crazy if it’s not true. And even if it is crazy, sometimes it’s still true. I have been a part of something way beyond my power to control, and that makes me seem downright strange at times. But my weirdness is what you might expect a prophet to be in these post-millenial times. My proof? I am at peace with both the seen and the unseen worlds: can you say the same? I think the Dreaming may soon be done with me, and I will be remade normal again, now that it looks like my main mission has been accomplished. (Read my book, Memoirs from the War in Heaven for what that involved.) No, my life is not over, not nearly, but I have had so that I’ve been feeling a little tired of late. And the wheel grinds on. To wonder what tomorrow brings, a little afraid, a little excited, for anything can happen. Yes it can, and I know it can, because it happened to me!

Judas Iscariot Redux

About Judas, perhaps it has been a big misunderstanding. One argument seems to hinge on one word: “betray”. It would seem that what was actually written was “hand over”, or even “deliver”, which are not quite as wickedly charged. There are several theories about his innocence that are scripturally based, but really, if you want to see that Judas was ultimately innocent, you must hold that part of the Bible is, in fact, wrong. Especially the Gospel According to John, the last one to be written, decades after the Lord had ever graced the Earth. One clue that Judas may not have been, in fact, on the wrong side, is when the Lord proclaimed he would be turned over, they did not all go, “No, not ever!” but instead, “Is it I?” So maybe there are mixed messages coming from the Gospels.

I once had a conversation with my neighbor, who is a pastor and who wrote a book about the Bible, whether Judas could have been innocent. He only went as far as Judas being likened to Pharoah (of Moses fame), whom God hardened his heart so that His glory could be revealed. To my neighbor, the Bible is the final word on all things. Which, in fact, cannot be the case, not as we live today. If you say to a believer about the parts that contradict other parts, they will come back with something about putting it in context. And that is what most people who would read the Bible will most undoubtedly lack: the proper context.

If instead, they were to say that the book is so holy that whatever interpretation you use, it will do the right thing for you, one could just as easily posit that it contains human error, but God (who is the root of holiness) will put those errors to work to His purpose. And, if you believe you think it has special meaning even placed into the context of the modern day, that’s basically what you’re saying. So here’s a question: if it took divine revelation to write the Bible, does it take divine revelation to read it, too? We seem to be going around that corner. But that seems a very sparse offering, what it seems has been given this world. We only have opinions, n’est-ce pas?

Bible advocates fear to say that there is anything in error within the entirety of the volume (or two volumes, or sixty-six or so volumes). If one part is wrong, does the whole thing come crashing down like a house of cards? I’d like to think that the works sanctioned by God to be more resilient than that. My opinion, then: the Bible was made by human beings, capable of error in whatever they attempted. The Bible is holy, again in my opinion, because it contains the two most important names of God: God is the I AM, and God is love. Therefore it is profitable to seek holy wisdom from those pages.

If all your faith relies on the Bible being without error, my words will not penetrate enough to change your mind, correct? Yet it is spiritual baby food to have faith in that. If you want to try the solid offerings, try accepting that errors did get into that book. Believe instead that it is instead that Jesus Christ is what does not err. For he was more than human: he was God. And see if it is true, that if you chop open a piece of wood, he will be there. See if you have accepted the Holy Sprit, and so the Lord is in your heart. Even then, your heart will err, but he will make something of all that you do and feel, even the sins. Let divine inspiration in, and you may understand clearly.

Do not expect to understand all the Bible lays out, or even why some things happen in those pages. And do not think that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. God deserves better. 1) We do not understand at least parts of the Bible. 2) The proper context for understanding some parts are a matter of history, which includes a lot of things which are debatable. 3) And once again, if you think it is applicable to today, you are putting it into a new context, and you, who do this (as Bible thumpers will quickly opine themselves), are a fallible creature, prone to error. So we come back to needing the Holy Spirit guide you to the proper meaning, especially as it might apply today.

What about holy men and women of today? Can we not rely on their interpretations? Prophets these day are mostly false, unfortunately (has it ever been different?). If they seek after money or power, then you will know them to be false. And almost all of the rest of them are just crazy. That’s the sort of situation we find ourselves in. Try instead to light your own candle to find your way. Not to say we shouldn’t research things ourselves. This is to say to research even what other people say, not just what you may understand of it.

So, what does this have to do with Judas? Perhaps I’ll give them this inch, the infallibility of the Bible folks: everything in the holy book (or books) serves a higher purpose, even the mistakes. Yeah, that’s not even an inch, I guess, maybe half an inch. For I have come to believe that the part where the Bible calls Judas Iscariot a son of perdition—that this is in error. Or that he was a devil. I believe Christ never said such things, and I even believe that Judas comes before Peter in the ranking of saints.

I’m not the first to think this, though maybe the most extreme in doing so, putting him before Peter, but there it is. Look at the case of Mary Magdalene: she was put in the light as a prostitute by the powers that be (a Pope, in the line of St. Peter), though she never was such a thing. But the unintended consequence was that she became the de facto patron saint of all prostitute. See? God sometimes works with the error. And I’m sure Ms. Magdalene would rather it had gone this way. Why are we bothering ourselves with trivialities, when the task at hand is to save a soul?

With that in mind, let it end like so: there was a purpose in the Bible including the error of Judas Iscariot. As some faithful will tell, there is evidence—some very well reasoned—that he betrayed his master and friend. In first, believing the Bible as divinely inspired by God, can our faith grow large enough to thing that that Word can be trumped by the Logos that is Christ? Another term for Logos might be called, Holy Reason. Can we pray to be able to see the truth, and then can we stand up for that truth? For the clues of Judas’ innocent are there, to be put together. This is the next level. And to those who are worried about what is from God, and what is the deception of the Devil, is it full of compassion and forgiveness? Or is it all judgment and damnation? Just saying.