The Gospel of Judas
You may have heard of the 'Gospel of Judas' which is getting a lot of press coverage at the moment.
This is a document which claims to give an account of Christ's life from the perspective of Judas, the Apostle who betrayed Jesus to the Jewish Authorities.
Two questions keep coming up:
1. Is this truly an ancient document from the early centuries after Christ?
2. Does this document give us the True Word of God?
Is the Document Ancient?With regard to the first question, there is no reason to doubt the experts who say that the parchment, the ink and the language all come from about AD 400 or before. So the document is as old as some of the copies we have of the accepted Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But what about the message it contains?
Is the Document in Harmony with the Bible?It says early in the document (talking about Jesus Christ):
'Often he did not appear to his disciples as himself, but he was found among them as a child.'.
This is rather a strange statement; if it means that Jesus had the humility, trust and simplicity of a child,
then this would concur with the accepted Gospels. If, on the other hand, the writer means that Jesus
literally took on the form of a child to talk to his Disciples, then this has no parallel with any Bible
A bit later in the document, it states:
'Judas [said] to him, 'I know who you are and where you have come from. You are from the immortal realm of Barbelo. And I am not worthy to utter the name of the one who has sent you.''Quoting from a web encyclopedia...........
'Barbelo is from the Greek, meaning forethought. (She is also referred to as Ennoia, intention) The Barbelo is the first thought (ennoia), or emanation of the Supreme being in Gnostic creation stories, the mother of the Aeons. She is the emanation of the First Cause, the creative principle who in turn creates (or causes to be created) the entire manifest world. In a sense, she also contains the universe within her; she is sometimes referred to as the womb of the world.'It seems strange that Barbelo should be mentioned, when this word appears nowhere in the accepted Bible. As we can see from the encyclopedia, this is a Greek or Gnostic idea with no parallel in the 4 Gospels of the Bible.
The Central MessageA central theme of this 'Gospel' is that only Judas understood Jesus and his message and the other disciples were even in opposition to the 'truth'. For example, when interpreting a dream about decadent priests, Jesus says this to the 12 disciples: 'Jesus said to them, 'Those you have seen receiving the offerings at the altar - that is who you are. That is the god you serve, and you are those twelve men you have seen. The cattle you have seen brought for sacrifice are the many people you lead astray before that altar.'
Conflict with Accepted Bible WritingsWhat this means is that to accept the Gospel of Judas as the Word of God would mean that we have to throw away from the New Testament, the Gospels of Matthew and John, because they were of the 12, John's three letters and Revelation and Peter's two letters. Mark's Gospel is generally thought to be based on Peter's testimony, so this would have to be rejected also. As Peter says in his second letter, chapter 1:
'16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.'Luke writes in chapter 1 (verses 1 to 4) of his Gospel:
'Since many have undertaken to set in order a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us, even as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus; that you might know the certainty concerning the things in which you were instructed.'
Both these writers were using first-hand accounts as material for their writing. If they were lying or fabricating, then firstly, those eyewitnesses would denounce them; secondly, would God allow error to be included in His Holy Word?
The Internal Harmony of the BibleOne of the main proofs of the Divine Inspiration of the Bible, is the internal harmony. This means that despite apparent minor discrepancies, (that could be due to translation or copying errors or could just be down to witnesses of the same event noticing different details), all books of the Bible are in harmony with the others. God does not change; neither does His message.
The 'bottom line' is that either the Bible IS the Word of God or it isn't. If it is not the Word of God, then it cannot matter which books and gospels are included and which are excluded. It is merely an academic exercise.
If the Bible IS the Word of God, then we have to ask whether God would allow it to be filled with false gospels and false writings, whilst the real writings have been excluded and even lost for many centuries, denying countless generations the opportunity of learning the true gospel message?
GnosticismThe fact is that the gospel of Judas belongs to what are called the Gnostic writings. Gnosticism was a movement that had to be contested by the early true Christians. It was based on the idea of secret knowledge (which is what Gnosis means), which only a select few were allowed to know. It drew on ideas from pagan beliefs and Greek philosophy.
Read what Wikipedia, the free web encyclopedia list for one of the Gnostic sects:
'The Cainites were a Gnostic and Antinomian sect who were known to worship Cain as the first victim of the Demiurge Jehovah, the Old Testament God, who was identified by many groups of gnostics as evil. They venerated Cain, on the basis that by creating murder Cain allowed men to deny it, and thus have a greater chance at redemption from Original Sin. The sect following was relatively small. They were mentioned by Tertullian and Irenaeus as existing in the eastern Roman Empire during the 2nd century. One of their purported apocryphal texts was the Gospel of Judas.'
Just in case you missed it, many Gnostic sects regarded Jehovah as evil! If any further proof were required that the teachings of these people were in opposition with the true teachings of the Bible, then we need not go any further.
The Dawn Christadelphians