Luke 22:3 (NIV)
Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.

Does this verse imply that

  1. Judas had no more control over his own actions as he was possessed by the devil.
  2. Judas yielded himself to the temptation of 30 pieces of silver offered by the priests for betraying Jesus.

The first option would mean that Judas was possessed and hence had no control over his own will whereas the second option would mean that the betrayal was a self-willed one.


4 Answers 4


Just because it was already prophesied, does not mean that Judas did not make a conscious choice. A man can most definitely choose to be used by Satan or by the Holy Spirit. Judas, by his actions, was already choosing, as he was choosing to steal from the purse.(John 12:6) This showed that even though he was with Jesus, the Holy Spirit was not working within him. He made a series of bad decisions and the devil took the opportunity.

God is blamed for many things, but just because He allows it to happen, does not mean He causes it to happen. Many times we put ourselves in this position. Isaiah 59:1-2 says:

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
    nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated
    you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
    so that he will not hear.

Judas put himself in this position. In a position where God allowed Satan use Judas.

  • Did Satan use Judas? Seems more to me like God used Satan by allowing Satan to enter Judas.
    – Andrew
    Commented Aug 2, 2014 at 3:15
  • @Andrew , God allows people to do a lot of things, it's called free will.
    – NealC
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 13:44
  • @NealC I disagree. Free will is the ability to animate one's being without constraints that are contrary to the expression of the individual's intended action. Even Paul says, "For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing." If Paul was unable to act freely, how can one claim to have free will? Those who have free will and continue to sin do so with intent, but those who do not have free will do so because of the law of sin of which Paul speaks. So if you have free will, stop sinning.
    – Andrew
    Commented Sep 6, 2015 at 3:08
  • It's all about how you interpret the scriptures I guess. :) @Andrew
    – NealC
    Commented Sep 6, 2015 at 23:58
  • @Andrew What do you mean by constraint? Influenced or determined? BTW read the Paul further, you'll find that he's thanking God for rescuing him from the body of death. Judas willfully refused this grace.
    – MirMasej
    Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 17:33

Judas Iscariot was not predestined to betray Jesus, and he had a choice in the matter. Consider Psalm 41:9: “The man at peace with me, in whom I trusted, who was eating my bread, has magnified his heel against me.” (NWT) Notice that the prophecy does not specify which close associate of Jesus it would be. Jehovah God knew that the Devil had used David’s counselor Ahithophel to betray him, and He had that recorded because it demonstrated how the Devil operated and what he would do in the future. It was not God but “the Devil . . . [who] put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray him [Jesus].” (John 13:2) Instead of resisting, Judas yielded to that satanic influence.

In connection with the incident where Jesus declared that one of the twelve was “a slanderer” close to Passover 32 C.E., John says: “From the beginning Jesus knew . . . who was the one that would betray him.” (John 6:64) From Hebrew Scripture prophecies, Christ knew that he would be betrayed by a close associate. God also had seen that such a one would turn traitor, but it is inconsistent with God’s qualities and past dealings to think that Judas had to fail, as if he were predestined. Rather, at the beginning of his apostleship Judas was faithful to God and to Jesus. Thus Christ must have meant that “from the beginning” of when Judas started to go bad, started to give in to imperfection and sinful inclinations, Jesus recognized it. Judas must have known he was the “slanderer” Jesus mentioned, but he continued to travel with Jesus and the faithful apostles and apparently he made no changes.

The Bible does not discuss in detail the motives for his corrupt course, but an incident that occurred on Nisan 9, 33 C.E., five days before Jesus’ death, sheds light on the matter. At Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, Mary, Lazarus’ sister, anointed Jesus with perfumed oil worth 300 denarii, about a year’s wages for a laborer. (Matthew 20:2) Judas strongly objected that the oil could have been sold and the money “given to the poor people.” Judas’ real reason for objecting was that he cared for the money box and he “was a thief . . . and used to carry off the monies” put in the box. So Judas was a greedy, practicing thief. (John 12:2-7).

He must have had a good heart to begin with, since Jesus would not otherwise have chosen him as an apostle. But after being reproved by Jesus at that time, Judas resentfully plotted his Master's betrayal. (Matthew 26:6-16) At this time "Satan entered into Judas," likely in the sense that the traitorous apostle gave himself in to the will of the Devil, allowing himself to be a tool to carry out Satan's design to stop Christ. A few days later, on Nisan 12, Judas went to the chief priests and temple captains to see how much they would pay him to betray Jesus, again showing his avarice. When Jesus later revealed that one of the 12 would betray him, Judas innocently asked: "It is not I, is it?" (Matthew 26:25) He also betrayed Jesus with a sign of friendship--a kiss. Only a deliberate sinner could maintain such a bold facade.

  • The first clause of the first sentence here contradicts the scriptures, "They are stumbling because they are disobedient to the word. To this very end they were appointed." The second clause doesn't necessarily follow from the first.
    – Andrew
    Commented Aug 2, 2014 at 3:08

Answer: Judas Iscariot indeed betrayed Jesus willfully and also had a chance to repent.

Jesus deliberately chose a devil: It seems to appear that Jesus deliberately chose Judas to be one of the 12 disciples, knowing that he was a devil.

John 6:70-71 (NIV) Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)

Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas was a devil, but He chose Judas in order to fulfill the prophecy and God's plan..

John 17:12 (NIV) While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

Jesus has the power to see the hearts of men. When Jesus elected the 12 disciples, He had the intention in mind to chose a devil as one of His disciples. Jesus then saw Judas, a devil by birth, full of treachery, and Jesus willfully elected him. Jesus also was able to see the future of Judas, who will not repent and ask for forgiveness, hence He said,

Matthew 26:24 (NIV) The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Judas had a chance: Everyone is given a chance to repent and ask forgiveness from Jesus, and Judas was not an exception. Even Peter disowned Jesus three times and all disciples left Jesus when He was arrested. Judas also had a chance to repent and ask for forgiveness. The thief crucified at the right hand side of Jesus is a good example of salvation at the last hour. Even a crucified thief had a chance. If Judas repented and asked for forgiveness, he would definitely be saved.

Judas should have waited for Jesus to forgive him, instead of committing suicide in remorse. He was not able to see the forgiving power of Jesus though he was a witness to it. Judas might have never believed in Jesus as the Messiah but was simply following Jesus with expectations, probably to fight against the Roman Empire. Judas was not able to see the divinity of Jesus unlike the other disciples and the crucified thief.


Very good answers from everyone Its apparent that Judas was not predestined for it was prophesied "The one whom I trusted" Jesus was deeply troubled by this, that someone he trusted would do such a thing. Also the fact that Judas tried to reverse course by going back to the Pharisees and give back the money clearly shows he didnt expect his actions to end with Jesus sentenced to death and admitted to betray innocent blood. The whole notion that Judas was predestined only serves in portraying a narcist God, cruel and unloving. But Jehovah is not like that. Satan, the angels that fallowed him and Judas, all made conscious choices based selfishness, putting their own interests first before Jehovah. When the love for God is not put first, then you worship yourself. This is why the first commandment is so important, its vital to love Jehovah with all our strength,with all our heart and with all our mind. Had Judas done this he would have never betrayed Jesus, the son of the living God!

  • 1
    This answer would be a lot better if you could add references showing that this is a common understanding, and who teaches/believes it. On this site, we're not looking for personal interpretation, but rather focusing on what various Christian groups teach. See How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer? Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 3:42
  • 1
    You have good thoughts, but this answer seems a bit too chatty. Could you put it more into the form of an answer with supporting evidence? Right now it's liable to get flagged as not a real answer.
    – LCIII
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 13:25

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