Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Twelfth Apostle

While on my mission, I came upon a scripture that caused me to think of the status of Judas. Judas is painted as this bad guy, he is associated with the worst of sins -- the unpardonable sin of denying the holy ghost. But how much of this is accurate? Could we go so far to say that he was or is a son of perdition?

The scripture that first got me thinking about this was D&C 29:12, which reads,

"And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, and it hath gone forth in a firm decree, but the will of the Father, that mine apostles, the Twelve which were with me in my ministry at Jerusalem, shall stand at my right hand at the day of my coming in a pillar of fire, being clothed with robes of righteousness, with crowns upon their heads, in glory even as I am, to judge the whole house of Israel, even as many as have loved me and kept my commandments, and none else."

The line that caught my eye was, "the Twelve which were with me in my ministry at Jerusalem . . ." Now, there are several possibilities to explain this (among other) scripture. I would first like to point out that the scripture itself could be flawed. There are other's (few others) to support the claim that essentially Judas will be one of those to come down with Christ in the last days, however there are also scriptures condemning Judas for betraying Christ. I propose that Judas very well could be one of the twelve, and will show alternatives to this as well.

In Matthew 27: 3-5, there is a different perspective as to Judas' death and final hours,

"3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself."

This scripture indicates that Judas "repented himself". This very well could explain why the scripture indicates who will be with Christ. This also takes away any belief that Judas committed the unpardonable sin. (Remember that to commit the unpardonable sin one would have to deny the Holy Ghost after having a perfect knowledge). Judas, I do not think, committed this sin. It was impossible, I feel, for the apostles to have a perfect knowledge of Christs messiahship--we have the example of Peter denying that he knew Christ three times and Thomas doubting saying that he must see Christ having resurrected to believe it.  So it is perfectly possible that Judas repented of his sins. In fact, I would say that it is more plausible that he had a moment of weakness and betrayed Christ and upon seeing the results of that betrayal he repented and because of his sorrow killed himself.

I feel that this explanation--Judas repenting himself--is logical and plausible. However, there is another that (maybe) could fit the profile of the twelfth apostle. This is Matthias.

In Acts we learn that in order for the man who was to replace Judas to be considered for apostleship he would need to have been with Christ during his ministry, and followed him an his teachings those three years. There were two who the apostles chose. Matthias was ordained. This, in a round about way, would give us our twelfth apostle who was with Christ in his ministry--however he was not an apostle during his ministry. However, it is a logical and acceptable answer.

There are several reasons to believe either way, however, we must consider the vagueness of the scripture(s) that indicate this. We do not know why the scripture was worded the way it was and how literally accurate we should acknowledge its worth. It could be very figuratively written.

I feel that these explanations will suffice and are both very likely. I have been grappling for some time as to why Judas betrayed Christ. There are a lot of different theories; he was evil, he was close to Christ and was asked to do this, he was weak. I find that the most logical answer fits well with us. He was weak. He saw an opportunity--an evil one, but still there is that weakness--and he took it. He, like us, showed great remorse because of his decision--his being so great it lead to him killing himself.

I feel that we should be less quick to judge Judas and try to see that maybe, just maybe, he was more human than we see him. And although his actions were horrible he eventually recognized his savior and (we can hope) repented.


DadP said...

Christopher, what I love is how thoughtful and engaged you are with these wonderful thoughts. You are a great thinker.

I like the idea that Judus was weak. It is a more complex solution than just painting him with one color and ignoring that he was likely embedded in all the complexity of life that we all are.

Thanks for these thoughts.

Lesa said...

You know, we've discussed this before. I would like to think Judas wasn't evil, maybe just weak or maybe for some reason knew he had to betray Christ. It's impossible for us to know, so I think maybe we should take a step back and try to learn something from the story.

Cap said...

I agree. I think that we can learn something from this. We can allow Judas the privilege of being human and see his weaknesses, because really, we all have weakness. His seems worse, but if Matthew was correct he repented--a hard thing to do.