The Mustard Seed
June 2006
"Ask Pastor"

Is the Gospel of Judas true? 

No. Judas died by suicide a few hours after Jesus was arrested.  The "
Gospel of Judas" was written about 100 years later by a religious group called "Gnostics."  This particular branch of gnosticism liked to take old familiar stories and turn them around so that the bad guys became heroes.  This group was called "Cainites," named after Cain who killed his brother Abel (Genesis 4).  In the Gnostic version of that story, Cain was the hero.

The Gnostic "Gospel of Judas" makes Judas the hero by claiming that he was the only disciple who really understood Jesus' mission, so Jesus asked Judas to hand him over to the Romans so Jesus could get crucified and become free of his physical body.

Gnostics were not Christians, but they used Christian names and characters.  For Gnostics, Jesus was not the Savior; he was only a teacher who said some really nutty things.  Gnostics taught that a person can get eternal salvation by learning special mystical knowledge.  (Our English word know comes from the Greek word gnosis, which means "knowledge."  The Latin word for know gives us our English word for science.)    Gnostics taught that Jesus had that mystical knowledge and that if we got that knowledge, we would be just like him.  Gnostics taught that anything physical is bad, so that the creator of the world is really a demon, an evil spirit. 

You can read an English translation of "the Gospel of Judas" for yourself.  It is only seven pages long.  Like all Gnostic gospels, you will not find any references to Christ's sacrifice for sin.  There is no reference to His resurrection.  For Gnostics, there is no need for forgiveness.

The Gospel of Judas says that Christ and Jesus are two different characters.  Jesus is good, but Christ is an evil angel, ruler over chaos.  Christ's creator and boss is Saklas (Satan), whom the other 11 disciples worship as their "god."  According to the Gospel of Judas, Satan, with the help of of his 5 evil assistants, created the physical world, including people:
"Then Saklas said to his angels, ‘Let us create a human being after the likeness and after the image.’ They fashioned Adam and his wife Eve, who is called, in the cloud, Zoe' " (the Greek word for "life").
Why did the Gnostics credit Satan with the creation of the physical world, including Adam and Eve?  Because physical is the opposite of spiritual.  Since spiritual is good, physical is bad.

But, says the Gospel of Judas, God came to the rescue:

First, God gave spirits to people
"as a loan, so that they might offer service."


"God caused knowledge [gnosis] to be give to Adam and those with him, so the kings of chaos and the underworld [including Christ] might not lord it over them."

And who is Jesus? 

"Judas said to him, 'I know who you are and where you have come from.  You are from the immortal realms of Barbelo."

The Gospel of Judas ends appropriately:
Their high priests murmured because [Jesus] had gone into the guest room for his prayer. But some scribes were there watching carefully in order to arrest him during the prayer, for they were afraid of the people, since he was regarded by all as a prophet.

They approached Judas and said to him, “What are you doing here? You are Jesus’ disciple.”

Judas answered them as they wished. And he received some money and handed him over to them.

This is Christian?  Not even close!  When Christ is identified as an evil angel, ruler of chaos, it is no wonder that today anti-Christian religious liberals love the Gospel of Judas.

Another popular Gnostic document, "Gospel of Thomas," (not really written by Thomas) ends with this verse:

Simon Peter said to him, "Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life."
Jesus said, "I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven."  (Verse 114)

Huh!?  And some people say that these Gnostic gospels are truly the Word of God?  I don't think so!

[Our original reference to the Gospel of Judas was the National Geographic Society.  NGS has since removed the document from its website.]
~~Pastor Ron