I'm curious what John means in verse 12 where he says

"While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name, which You have given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled." - (NASB)

I've seen some (The NIV) translate this as "The One doomed to destruction" but I've noticed that the Greek interlinear says it's huios ten apoleias or son of destruction/perdition.

Is John implying that Judas is sent to perdition or a man of destruction?

  • @Dottard I'm more curious of the meaning of the words huios ten apoleias, what it implies in context and how it should be translated.
    – lebaptiste
    Jul 6, 2021 at 2:53
  • 1
    The rationale behind thinking God condemns people to ‘hell’ (whatever that is) because they had a task to perform for the kingdom, points to not recognising the plan God has put in place for all men. Judas is no more lost than Pharaoh or any other sinner who was driven to evil under the darknesses of deception.
    – Steve
    Jul 6, 2021 at 5:16

4 Answers 4


Here is the meaning of the word they used for Judas's destruction.


Cognate: 684 apṓleia (from 622 /apóllymi, "cut off") – destruction, causing someone (something) to be completely severed – cut off (entirely) from what could or should have been. (Note the force of the prefix, apo.) See 622 (apollymi). 684 /apṓleia ("perdition") does not imply "annihilation" (see the meaning of the root-verb, 622 /apóllymi, "cut off") but instead "loss of well-being" rather than being (Vine's Expository Dictionary, 165; cf. Jn 11:50; Ac 5:37; 1 Cor 10:9-10; Jude 11).

Judas was cut off from what of could've been…

The word for Judas's destruction is the same word that is used in Romans 9:22 for "vessels of wrath fitted for destruction." God alone determines who is to be a vessel of mercy or a vessel of wrath.

And if there's any consolation what may happen to Judas, I would encourage you to read Romans 9-11.

After you have read it, pay particular attention Romans 11:32, where we read,

For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all (NASB 1995).

  • "Judas was cut off from what of could've been…" could mean that Judas will not be part of the first resurrection at Jesus's return and so will not rule and teach with him, the other disciples, and the rest of the elect during the 1000 year Kingdom of God. It doesn't necessarily mean that he won't be part of the second resurrection, at the end of the 1000 years, when he will get his chance at salvation. Forgiveness is a large part of what God is, and what Christians should be. Jul 8, 2021 at 3:12
  • Good answer showing other than traditional 'all going to hell' nonsense. +1
    – Steve
    Jul 11, 2021 at 23:33
  • Ray, would you mind sharing the scriptures that show how many will get a chance for salvation at the end of the 1,000 year millennium. Much appreciated.
    – Rob
    Apr 4, 2023 at 10:21

There are a few references to Judas being finally lost as per the following:

  • John 6:70 - Jesus answered them, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!”
  • Matt 26:23-25 - Jesus answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with Me will betray Me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed. It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Then Judas, who would betray Him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You have said it yourself.”
  • John 17:12 - While I was with them, I protected and preserved them by Your name, the name You gave Me. Not one of them has been lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.
  • Acts 1:18, 19 - Now with the reward for his wickedness Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong and burst open in the middle, and all his intestines spilled out. This became known to all who lived in Jerusalem, so they called that field in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.

Judas was lost because he refused Jesus offer of salvation. This is why the record in John 17:12 (above) calls him the "son of destruction" - a Hebrew idiom meaning that he would be destroyed - compare the following references which all speak (using the same word) meaning final destruction: Matt 7:13, Rom 9:22, Phil 1:28, 3:19, 2 Thess 2:3, 1 Tim 6:9, 2 Peter 2:1, 3, 3:16, Rev 17:8, 11.

  • Are you using the word lost to mean damned to hell?
    – lebaptiste
    Jul 6, 2021 at 2:57
  • @lebaptiste - I am using the word "lost" to mean without salvation - doomed for destruction.
    – Dottard
    Jul 6, 2021 at 3:01

Is Judas cursed to eternal damnation? (John 17:12)

The son of destruction: In this context, the expression refers to Judas Iscariot, whose deliberate betrayal of God’s Son made Judas subject to eternal destruction, one who was unworthy of a resurrection. The same expression is used at 2Th 2:3 with reference to “the man of lawlessness.”

2 Thessalonians 2:3 ESV

3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness[a] is revealed, the son of destruction,[b]

By here referring to Judas as “the son of destruction,” Jesus indicated that when Judas died, there was no hope of a return for him. He did not live on in God’s memory. He went, not to Sheol, but to Gehenna-- that is eternal destruction


No. I can see that God created Judas to be the "son of destruction" just as he created Jeremiah to be His prophet. God told Jeremiah

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 2:5)

Jesus was known as a prophet and he prophesied. He would have been acutely aware of Judas and the role Judas had to perform, and he would have felt the pain Judas would bear after he did what he had to do. He would have known what Judas would do to atone for his actions (Judas hung himself - Acts 1:18) and I believe Jesus tried to tell his disciples after the last supper when he said

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13)

Jesus also told them:

19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am.

20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”

And shortly after that Jesus told Judas:

“What you are about to do, do quickly.” (John 13:27)

and he sent him into the night.

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