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.
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.
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.
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.
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.