The lost apostleship of Judas Iscariot had to be restored. The eleven must again become the twelve. The lesson of Judas is that any believer can become a traitor.
21 “Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us— 22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” 23 So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen 25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles. 
Even though it was prophesied in the distant past there would be a man who betrayed the coming Messiah, it was never written in stone that Judas must take the course he did. It was a choice, the result of his own will. There were signs all along that there was something wrong with him that needed attention. And then he betrays the Lord with a kiss? How can any man so blessed be such a jackass?
Most of us would consider being one of the apostles as the highest possible honor. Imagine being with the Lord every day, being taught by Him, and being a witness of His majesty. This was the greatest Man who ever lived living an extraordinary life willing to pay the highest price for those He loved. Walking with Him, regardless of the challenges and persecution, would have been an absolute trip.
But Judas was a thief. He ripped off the Lord. He stole money dedicated to ministry. He griped about perceived excess or waste, even though he ended up wasting his own life. There is no excuse for such behavior, not then and not ever. He was a liar, a pretender, and a manipulator. It appears that other apostles didn’t like or trust him. The Lord called him a devil (diabolos), being defined as one prone to slander, vicious gossip, fraudulent accusations, and bearing false witness. Judas characterized an entire group of people. Was this why the Lord chose him? To reveal to His followers what they would face and to thus be prepared? All the apostles were tempted but Judas was the weak link. He refused to discipline himself properly. He never allowed the circumcision of his heart. He chose to oppose.
There had to be twelve. One must be chosen to replace him. It had to be a man who followed the Lord from beginning to end and witnessed His resurrection. The original twelve apostles represented in part the twelve tribes of Israel. Judas had much in common with the progenitor of the tribe of Dan, who was the likely ringleader in betraying Joseph and sending him off to Egyptian bondage. At some point in history this tribe disappeared. There is no record of Dan in the Book of Revelation tribe list. This lets us know what becomes of traitors.
Matthias (gift of God) was chosen as an honorable replacement to resurrect a dead apostleship and restore fullness to the twelve. The thief would be replaced with a giver. It was the highest of honors for one who must have been a thoroughly humble man.
Matthias was an apostolic example of the new birth.
© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
The 120 were gathered together in the Upper Room. The apostle Peter took his place as spokesman for the group. Keep in mind that this assembly was the entire Early Church, from the Greek Ekklesia, which is defined as “the community of the called-out ones.”
16 “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. 19 And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE, AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT’; and, ‘LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.’
This was Luke’s first recorded post-Ascension message of the followers of the Lord Jesus. They had a safe place at Mary’s house. Though the Lord was no longer physically present in the environs of Jerusalem, His small group of disciples was still considered a dangerous heretical faction. From the limited perspective of the Jewish religious leaders, however, with the Lord finally out of the way, there remained a consensual relief not presently threatened by the existence of His small band. But this would soon change.
Regarding the traitor, the greatest villain known to history, he did have second thoughts. He was assisted in his dastardly deed, however, by the devil himself, along with the murderous and conniving chief priests, which assisted in pushing him over the edge.
And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. [Luke 22:3]
One wonders at the arguments Satan may have made that at last convinced Judas to act. It was more than the man’s love of money. In essence, though, he was simply deceived. His bad spirit, bad attitude, constant grumbling and complaining, and refusal to adhere to real discipleship, caused the man’s unregenerate flesh, his sinful human nature, to remain forever on display. This condition is common to all, and without self-imposed restrictions, wreaks havoc. It is why all real Christians must at the onset deal strongly with this spiritual enemy and defeat it if they hope to have any chance at serving the Lord.
When Judas saw the Lord condemned, and that he had been deceived by the priests and elders, he felt great remorse. He tried to return the money but they wouldn’t take it.
“I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. [Matthew 27:4-5]
According to tradition, the Field of Blood was located just beyond the southern edge of the old city of David on the other side of the Hinnom Valley.
This had otherwise been known as Gehenna, the allegorical destination of the wicked.
© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
I quoted Paul in my last post in his second letter to Timothy. One of the charges he made against false believers and rejecters of the Lord was that they were lovers of money. So was Judas.
Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” [Luke 16:14-15]
There are a great many Christian bigwigs who are highly esteemed among men. They rule their roosts as the flaming little peacocks they are. It continues to amaze me how gullible Christians are in supporting these people. The Lord could walk in to most churches and everyone there would pay Him no mind. They would simply not recognize Him. He would not look the part. He would be invisible.
But the great mighty platform-strutters and gaudily-attired clergyites, many of which are going straight to hell, are honored much as the original Pharisees were honored.
Such Pharisees also loved dressing the part. They would do anything to pass themselves off as legitimate in order to gain great social standing and much money.
Perhaps this is in part why gaining money is not so easy for real Christians or why they are less motivated toward wealth. Real Christians already know they are the wealthiest people in the world anyway because they have a close relationship with the Lord Jesus. What can possibly be better than that? The Lord ALWAYS takes care of His children but His children must put Him first.
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” [Luke 16:13]
Those who knowingly reject the Lord do so in large part because they love money and refuse to submit to real discipleship which will curtail their gaining of it. Thus, without the Lord, they are free to seek wealth to their heart’s content. Those who put money before God will also engage in much evil against the Lord and His people. One of these evils is betrayal. Spending money on the Lord, His people, and His movement is considered a waste. He always wants to help good-hearted people who strive to do good. Such people are often looked down upon by the world because they are seen as losers who won’t fight, cheat, lie, and deceive to get ahead. The lovers of money do this. The two always go together. Here is a good example:
Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.” [John 12:1-8]
Right after this the indignant money-loving Judas left to make his deal with the money-loving chief priests to betray the Lord.
Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus. [Matthew 26:14-16] 
© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
All Christians have a choice to make. They will either stand with the Lord Jesus 100% or they won’t.
No one has ever been subjected to the attacks the Lord Jesus suffered. We now live in a time when extremely hateful vile people have gained a massive bully pulpit blasting out attacks against any and all who refuse to kowtow to their false narratives and slimy lies. What many people still do not recognize is that this is a very clear sign of the Great Awakening.
This should be obvious. It is not that the attacks of the enemy have only just begun. The enemy has been doing this a very long time. What makes these times different is that the enemy has greatly stepped up its attacks but only for one reason:
The forces of truth and morality are fighting back. They are fighting back like never before. They have gained a spiritual backbone.
They are not supposed to fight back! They are supposed to stay in their little hovels to which they have been assigned where they are never seen and their voice is never heard. Why so many otherwise good people have ended up there can be narrowed down to two reasons:
(1) They failed to stay strong in the Lord. They failed to stay prayed up. They failed to work hard at gaining the knowledge and information they would need to stand as stalwart people defending the truth. (If one does not know the truth how can they defend it?) As a result the enemy took advantage of their spiritual laziness and began dismantling the rest of whatever was good that had yet to be destroyed while most people simply let them do it without a fight.
(2) They succumbed to an attack from inside. The people around them—a friend, a family member, an associate—who got suckered into the false narratives, turned against them and lambasted them often not even knowing they were doing the devil’s work and that they had been deceived. In other words, the indolent people who simply believe whatever they are told to believe and never verify anything or trust the wrong people, who are easily deceived and easily fall sway to the false pronouncements of authority figures who they pledge to support without even knowing who these people really are and what they actually believe, end up turning against their own. Shouldn’t they know better?
This is what the Lord said would happen to His real followers. It refers to all of His followers for all time:
“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.” [Luke 6:22-23]
This is what He said about prophets, including Himself:
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” [Mark 6:4]
The reason the preceding happens is because a person joins up with the Lord and chooses His side. As a result, all those who hate Him or refuse to join His side turn against those who join Him. Those who choose to hate the Lord Jesus and never change end up influencing all those who have never joined Him or who sit on the fence. Many Christians have one foot in the world which opposes the Lord and one foot dangling in the right direction but cannot get themselves to go all the way in either direction. They know enough to not support the enemy but are too chicken to go fully over to the Lord’s side. This means they are somehow compromised. They fear what they will lose by going all the way.
There is actually no middle ground, however. Middle ground does not exist. One is either with Him or one opposes Him. The person who therefore insists, “No, there is a middle ground and this is where I will stay,” lacks knowledge and wisdom. This person has no spiritual backbone. This person’s faith is weak or non-existent and is ruled by doubt:
…For the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. [James 1:5-8]
The Lord Jesus is the ROCK and all who support Him unequivocally are also like rocks. Rather than being swayed by false narratives or an ungodly culture that opposes Him they stand for Him. Rather than being tossed around in the roiling surf they stand as great rocks in that surf and cannot be moved. There is no possible way they can do this without the Lord. They had recognized their own weakness and desired strength to stand but discovered it was only the Lord Jesus that had such strength. It is a strength that can withstand anything. So they went fully over to His side and were blessed. They gained a backbone they never had before.
Veteran real Christians know that their times of weakness were caused by not doing the things they needed to do and doing other things that weakened them. They often discover this after an attack. When a strong attack comes against them and they have a very hard time standing, they realize their strength had waned due to their own negligence. It is most likely the case that the attack came precisely for this reason. The enemy saw an opening caused by weakness and went for it. Most of the time a believer is able to rally back and overcome but not always. It is why followers of the Lord must remain ever-vigilant.
There are Judases skulking around. There are Jezebel spirits. There are religious spirits. There are all manner of wicked spirits sent to do a job.
The Lord was always dealing with this phenomenon during His ministry and so were His later followers. They were subjected to the most heinous attacks. Stuff came out of left field. They were lied about and cheated. Even friends and spiritual brothers left them in the lurch because they believed the lies or were too sissified to stand with them. Imagine if you were one of the Lord’s disciples when the following happened. How would it make you feel?
At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled. [Matthew 26:55-56]
CORRUPTION IS AS CORRUPTION DOES
We have two major political parties in America. One is characterized by adopting ungodly and unconstitutional positions. The other is characterized by having no backbone to carry out the things they claim to stand for. They look quite different outwardly but their differences are often only skin deep. The people from these parties who currently hold elective office are almost all compromised in some way. Some are complete total sellouts. A few actually are not sold out at all. Those who refuse to sell out will always be opposed by the sellouts. You may never see the back door skullduggery openly but at some point, at the least suggestion that the honest non-sellout may have done something not acceptable politically, usually something completely innocuous, the sellouts will violently turn against such a person and attempt to destroy him even if the person is a member of the same party. This gives us another indication that what we have in the main is a uniparty, two sides of the same coin, playing games to appear as opposite teams. The real divide, however, is that some are honest and some are not.
Christianity is divided the same way in that there are two types of Christians. There are those who have joined up with the Lord Jesus 100% and there are those who have not. The latter should be absolutely ashamed. Watch your back. They are Christians in name only. The Lord is keeping track. He knows those who are with Him and those who are not. He knows the ones with Him are His friends. He knows they have had to stand up against all manner of attacks perpetrated against them by His enemies. He knows they make themselves vulnerable to the evil people of this world when they join up with Him and serve Him. He also knows that sometimes the attacks must happen, that they may be severe, and that His son or daughter will suffer as a result. It is all part of the real work of the Gospel.
But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” [Luke 22:48] 
All real believers will experience a time when they will suffer the worst of attacks, one in which they are innocent but smeared and no one comes to support them. They know they have been railroaded and set up. They know the evil one convinced those who were formerly true to withdraw their support. The worst attacks come from friends. Sometimes, the only friend they have left is the Lord. Rather than this being a really bad thing, however, and it certainly is, it is also a great thing. Why? Because it lets us know the Lord will always remain with us though everyone else does not. It is a tremendous opportunity to grow in greater relationship with the Lord. The suffering that happens, and it can be great, is the obverse reality of the much better reality, that the Lord is one’s BEST friend and will be there always under any circumstances. This is when a believer understands the greatness of the Lord’s love and His true fidelity and faithfulness. He will never leave His children or betray them. Ever.
Standing up for the Lord Jesus against great opposition is the most difficult thing one may ever do but it has the greatest reward. The more one stands the stronger one gets. Those who are determined to give their all are the stalwarts working with Him to bring forth this Great Awakening.
And as it was with the Lord, this includes overcoming Judas.
© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. [Acts 4:1-3]
Most spiritually intelligent people figure it out after a while. Some see it very quickly. Others need a lot of time. Most, it seems, never see it.
The primary reason for this spiritual blindness is revealed in the preceding passage of Scripture: How did the unbelieving Sadducees and priests come to power and gain control over the people of Israel in the first place? Why did the people let this happen?
It begins with intimidation and trickery. It often ends in force.
The key to success for the bad guys is finding people vulnerable to deception, which is apparently not so difficult a task. People become vulnerable to deception through their own ignorance. People are most often ignorant as the result of their own laziness. Therefore, the spiritually lazy are easily intimidated and deceived because of their own ignorance of spiritual matters, and this creates the perfect opportunity for the bad guys (dressed as good guys) to take control.
This very dynamic just took place again this morning, all across the country. The vast majority of “Christians” still have no clue. They are under a very powerful spell of enchantment.
This dynamic is also, of course, reinforced every election cycle. Lazy, low and no information voters susceptible to gross deception by their own ignorance creates the ongoing opportunity for the elite to gain ever more power and wealth. The Lord told us this would happen. So did the Founding Fathers, if we didn’t stay alert. Well, most of America has not stayed alert. Many voices keep warning. This is good. But it is not yet enough.
However, you better hear this voice. The Lord God is in the process of doing something incredibly great though it still remains off the radar of those with compromised vision. WE ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A NATIONAL GREAT AWAKENING. There have been many, many attempts to subvert it, to co-opt it, to shanghai it, and to stop it, but they will all fail.
These attempts will succeed, though, in sucking in the unsuspecting and spiritually weak. If you believe yourself to be a real Christian it is absolutely imperative for you to get on board with the Lord Jesus one million percent. You will otherwise fall victim to the opposing side. There must be a concerted effort to break free. Remember, the Lord said the deception would be so powerful even His own disciples would fall for it without staying spiritually strong, informed, and connected to Him.
After being in control for a while the entire process of dominance and submission becomes self-perpetuating. The only thing that can break the religious enchantment and deception upon all those on the inside then, is Great Light from the outside. This is what happened when the Lord Jesus arrived. He exposed the evil workers in charge who had successfully disguised themselves as God’s anointed. They were obviously not anointed. They had no light. They were frauds.
This is why, in the Acts 4 passage above, these frauds went absolutely nuts. Their crazed and fearful behavior was the result of being exposed by the apostle Peter’s message for what they really were and to losing their religious hold over the people. This is what real spiritual Light does. It exposes religious frauds and it frees people from their grip.
But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. [Acts 4:4]
Most Christians of the present, like their ancient Israelite counterparts, have also submitted to the wrong leaders. As a result, they have also become the willing victims and dupes of party line half-truths, misinformation, and pure pulpit propaganda. They do not realize they have been conditioned over the years to always swallow the status quo and do everything they’re told. They have been conditioned to be passive sheep in which the highest virtue is to surrender to total clergy control. Thus, whenever spiritual Light breaks forth, they do all in their power to put it out.
The following are God’s gifts followed by the conditioned response of religious controllers:
(1) God gave you a very strong spirit. Emasculate it!
(2) God gave you an intelligent mind. Dumb it down!
(3) God gave you a voice. Don’t use it!
The formula is thus: Laziness + Ignorance + Speechlessness = Deception = Domination.
If you want a passage of Scripture that perhaps best describes what has become of traditional, institutional Christianity in America, the following pretty much nails it:
All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. [Isaiah 53:6]
Every sheep that has gone astray falls into one of two camps: Those who know it and those who don’t.
Those who know it know full well that they are in need of the Good Shepherd.
Those who don’t have been deceived into accepting replacement shepherds. They have been led into a camp that actually opposes the Lord but insist that is not the case. They have become satisfied in their fake pasture.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. [Psalm 23:1-3] 
The lush green pastures the Lord would give them have been replaced by the replacement shepherds with disease-causing chemically-fertilized fields of nutrition-empty faux grass.
It looks great but you better not eat it or you will get sick and die.
The Living Water promised by the Lord has been replaced with repackaged sewer water loaded with toxic chlorine and ammonia.
It looks clean but you better not drink it or you will get sick and die.
The false gospel they preach has been redacted and censored exorbitantly so as not to offend (betrayal), to bring in maximum monetary profit (thirty pieces of silver), and to grant power to a tiny religious clique of replacement shepherds (Judases). It is worthless toward gaining real salvation and spiritual life.
It sounds right but you better not believe it or you will get sick and die.
All of this should be obvious. But when “Christians” absolutely refuse to compare the dead and the almost dead Christianity they are associated with to the real Christianity of the Lord Jesus, in order to differentiate the real from the unreal, they have no way of knowing they have been deceived.
For example, there are people who have gotten in trouble with the law because they were playing fast and loose and not respecting the law or acknowledging the penalties of breaking the law. As long as they didn’t get caught they were fine and stayed on course. But when they got caught and the penalties were applied they decided to comply completely so as to get free as soon as possible. If they were put on probation they obeyed the terms of probation. If they were fined they paid it. If they went to jail they became model prisoners, caused no more trouble, worked on paying their debt to society, and eventually got free. Then they never got in trouble again for the rest of their lives. They made the decision to be law-abiding citizens. Their resultant freedom and clear conscience allowed them to make full and virtuous contributions to the life God gave them. They got off the wasted life track and got on the productive life track.
Now, many Christians say they are doing that. But most Christians make lousy comparisons regarding their Christian service. They compare themselves to T-ball players instead of Major League Baseball Hall of Famers.
If a person compares his Christian life to that of the average American churchgoer he will probably feel okay about himself and feel no pressure to improve. But if he compares his Christian life to that of the apostle Peter he will quickly see a giant deficit. And what happens if one compares his life to the life of the Lord Jesus? Uh oh.
Also, why does it never dawn on Christians that most of their so-called shepherds and elders look absolutely NOTHING like the apostle Peter, and certainly not like the Lord Jesus? And why are they accepted anyway?
If one’s “pastor” is a spiritual compromiser then there is no pressure for anyone else to be anything more. This is why most Christians gauge their spiritual lives by their chosen authority figures. They would rather not have the pressure of conforming to the real curriculum of the Lord Jesus. They don’t want real discipleship. Not only is it too difficult compared to their easy method, the people they hang with would not appreciate it.
Why? Because Christians who live lives of real discipleship put pressure on those who don’t. Making a move to be closer to the Lord and be more effective for Him puts pressure and conviction on those who would rather hang back and live in their fake world with fake grass and fake water. They would much rather submit to a fake shepherd and believe a fake gospel. It’s a lot easier. But it is pure betrayal.
This makes every single one of these “Christians,” especially the ones in the pulpit, a Judas.
Their ends will all be the same.
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
Dear Readers: Thank you for all your support this year. I believe the content in this current series is indispensible regarding the coming Great Awakening in America. We must all grow closer to the Lord Jesus. He must be exalted in this nation. His real identity must be known. Christian persecution will continue rising in America in 2016 and we must all be prepared. Please help make this current series reach as many believers as possible. Be blessed!
“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM…” [John 8:28 NAB]
Merry Christmas! During this most wonderful time of the year I must extend to you all a prophetic note.
We know the Lord Jesus taught that His community would be united before His return. In actual effect, it has always been united because whoever is united with the Lord is also united with His community by His Spirit. There still remains the process, however, of meeting one another as members. This coming together is happening right now in America, but it is being powerfully opposed.
There are certainly forces against His community, but I must tell you that despite persecution from the world, the world is not the divider of the Lord’s community. When under attack, the Lord’s people rally together to each other’s defense and do whatever must be done to help each other.
We see this playing out perfectly in the Lord’s original community in Jerusalem. They truly represented the spirit of Christmas by their incredible giving and love. Needs were met and everyone was blessed!
Those who destroy community, on the other hand (and you know who they are), have a decided tendency to always shoot their wounded, slander them, and cast them out as worthless in defense of their unholy turf and false agendas. They act out of hate, not love.
RATHER THAN CRUCIFY THEIR FLESH THEY CRUCIFY THE LORD AFRESH.
No, the attempt to divide the Lord’s people has always arisen from within. Who is the opposer?
Unreal Christianity is the responsible party. I could tell you so many stories to prove this, but most of you have your own stories and already know it. Many churches and ministries, due to certain failures, false doctrines, and hidden hateful attitudes are filled with far too many tares, goats, and wolves in sheep’s clothing. It even happened to the Lord, of course.
Judas was one of the Lord’s own, and it is the JUDAS SPIRIT that is often responsible for breaking up everything the Lord God wants to be united.
I will be writing more about this in future posts in order to help you identify what is causing all the problems, but there is one thing you must know before we proceed:
Persecution from without unifies the Lord’s community and makes it strong. Persecution from within destroys it. There are some very evil and sinful people who are masquerading as Christians. They have their own selfish and rebellious agendas. They do these things largely because they pretend to know the Lord Jesus or think they know the Lord Jesus but do not.
And because they do not know the Lord and have no knowledge of His true identity, they have no way of identifying real Christians and thus oppose them, exactly as Judas did.
“They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me.” [John 16:2-3] 
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
The Biblical percentages are such that one out of every twelve disciples is a Judas. On average, there is a Judas among every twelve people in the life of a real Christian. This being the case, it may be wise to limit your friends to eleven people. But really, the Judas problem exists, and it will never go away. It is one of those things we must be aware of, but keep on the back burner. Eleven out of twelve, on average, are on your side and will not betray you, and this must always be our focus.
The Lord knew the heart of Judas. He knew He had chosen “the son of perdition” as one of His original twelve. David prophesied of this man:
All who hate me whisper together against me; against me they devise my hurt, saying, “A wicked thing is poured out upon him, that when he lies down, he will not rise up again.” Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. [Psalm 41:7-9]
Yet Judas was in no way predestined to perform his dirty deed. He was not created to be a jerk. He chose to be a jerk. It seems that the other apostles did not suspect him. None of them knew who the traitor was at the Last Supper, for example. It is apparent that Judas hid himself very well.
He was the holder of the money bag. And he repeatedly stole from it. Imagine that. He was routinely stealing the money given for the work of God. The only one who knew this, apparently, was the Lord. Maybe the others did know it. Maybe they knew Judas was a thief but did not know he would be a traitor. There was something not quite right about this man. Each of the original apostles was messed up in some way. They each had their personality quirks and sin problems. Except for John, they all eventually ran off and/or denied the Lord after His arrest.
But they returned. Their hearts were right. They simply did not understand. They were afraid. But Judas was a betraying thief with his own agenda. He was not on the same page with the Lord or the others. He was listening to a different radio station. He was getting his information from a different source. At the time of the end, his increasingly cozy relationship with the devil himself caused the two to come into perfect union. It was a spiritual marriage. The devil entered into Judas and the two became one. Whoa.
It had been building for some time. At whatever point it commenced we do not know for sure, but Judas Iscariot had decided he would either take back his heart from the Lord or never give it fully to Him. It could be that he, like the others, could only perceive the popular notion of the Messiah as a conquering hero. He noticed early on that the Lord Jesus did not seem to fit this role. He thus held back his heart. The others thought the same thing generally, but gave their hearts to the Lord anyway. They overcame anything that might have held them back, and each of them sided with the Lord 100%. They still messed up from time to time, but their hearts were right.
Not so with Judas. And not so with any possible unknown Judas in your life. The Lord never advocated being suspicious of others, though. Suspicion and love do not go together. The best Scriptural advice concerning how to best approach this subject, straight from the Lord’s teachings, is probably the following:
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” [Matthew 10:16]
The Lord knew about Judas but carried the knowledge well. It takes a certain strength to do this, a great strength. He loved Judas to the very end and knew there was always hope on the one hand, but was aware of his eventual fate on the other. He never let this knowledge or the various actions of Judas affect His mission or relationship with others, however. He never even fought against the actions of Judas, but allowed them to play out as part of a plan. One solution to this is that it was already predetermined there must be a traitor, because Satan would counter the Lord’s ministry with betrayal. Under the devil’s overall tempting influence upon everyone close to the Lord, Judas Iscariot was the one who gave in to temptation and chose the role.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. [Romans 12:9-18] 
© 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus. [Matthew 26:14-16]
During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him… [John 13:2]
And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. [Luke 22:3]
The devil and betrayal go together. One may wonder how a man such as Judas could have spent so much time with the Lord and still have such a wicked heart toward Him. One may also wonder why the Lord even allows betrayal in the first place. In His case, it was all a part of the plan. But why are His people betrayed?
It may also be part of His plan. On the one hand it is a simple battle tactic, a method used by the enemy to inflict damage. On the other hand it is an insidious process to inflict pain on a higher level, a needless level of pain, one that goes beyond the mere achieving of a goal. It is used to strike at the deepest center of a person’s heart in such a way that recovery is often impossible. It’s a method of piling on or mutilating a corpse after murder. It reveals an enormous amount of pure hate on the part of the betrayer that goes far beyond a simple elimination of one’s opposition.
I went to see The Passion of the Christ when the film first arrived in theaters in 2004. I never saw it again until a few weeks ago. Once was plenty for seven years. As we all know, the film illustrates graphically the nature of pure betrayal upon an innocent Man. They could have simply murdered Him, but the enemy wanted to inflict as much pain as possible. Though the House of Annas was the principal party behind the execution, and the Roman army the tool, it was the devil that was obviously lurking behind the entire plot. He would make an example of the Lord and attempt to put enough fear in the Lord’s followers that they would shrink from their duty and betray Him as well.
The Lord Jesus was demonized in that He was made to appear evil or threatening in the eyes of others. He was lied about. Most people believed the lies. They had no idea a powerful demonic influence was behind the lies. They were manipulated. Many who saw the Lord in action and heard His teachings had grown to greatly appreciate Him. He made them feel free. His wonderful presence was a joy. But then they drifted off. They accepted the innuendo and false charges as fact, and allowed fear to take hold in their hearts. They would no longer stand with Him. They would not defend Him. At the time of His trial, the Lord was all alone. Not a single supporting voice of any disciple was heard. Even His right hand man denied Him.
We may see this as a onetime event in the life of the Son of God that has no bearing on betrayal in general, but this is incorrect. Betrayal is what it is, regardless of the betrayed. It is something almost impossible to defend against because it involves loved ones and trusted ones—friends and family—those who are thought to be on one’s side. The Lord knew in advance. Few others know anything at all until the trap is sprung.
“But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name.” [Luke 21:16]
“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.” [Matthew 24:9-10]
“But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. [John 6:64-66] 
© 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.