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We know from the Bible that Satan entered Judas before he betrayed Jesus. From Luke 22:3 (NIV):

Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.

We also know however that Judas later felt remorse about this. From Matthew 27:3 (NIV):

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.

But how could have Judas felt remorse, considering he was possessed? Or perhaps he was no longer possessed, but if that's the case, when did Satan leave him?

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    Remorse is a useless emotion. It is not anything like genuine repentance. Remorse is merely an effect of the consequences of wicked behaviour. Of course he felt remorse.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 13:07
  • Satan does not physically enter man, it is a symbolism to depict how satanic sinful was Judas. It is a narrative presented by those Gospels to depict him as evil.
    – Michael16
    Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 17:43
  • @Michael16 the Q is not concerned with that point. It is beside the point of the Q which is about Judas feeling remorse.
    – Anne
    Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 18:21
  • Anne no, the Q is asking about being possessed. Regret repentance of Judas is a related Q
    – Michael16
    Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 7:12
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    @Michael16 The question takes Judas's possession as a fact, but if Satan later left him, then - either way - how could Judas have experienced regret. That is the question: how could he feel regret? The details of how Satanic possession 'works' is not in view. It is taken as understood that he was possessed. If Satan later left him, then another question is WHEN did Satan leave him? But if he never left Judas, that question can be ignored, which is why I answered the way I did.
    – Anne
    Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 13:14

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For Judas to feel remorse would be easier than falling off a log. Millions of people feel remorse every hour of every day, when something they have done or said exposes them publicly as in the wrong. Being controlled by Satan does not need to enter into it, though it certainly was a factor with Judas Iscariot.

Remorse is deep regret. But if the person is remorseful because they have been exposed in front of others, then the question arises, "Would they have had no remorse if they had got off with what they'd done or said?" The answer comes if the person repents of that wrongful thing. Then they are truly sorry for that wrongdoing. They confess it; they seek forgiveness; they seek to restore what they'd caused to break down. Repentance goes way beyond mere regret. That's why the following biblical statements on this apply to Judas:

"Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance. For ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of, but the sorrow of the world worketh death." 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 A.V. [Emphasis mine]

Judas was not brought to repentance. He experienced worldly sorrow that leads to death, and went off and hanged himself (Matthew 27:5). And this is where the point about being possessed by Satan applies. Read this telling statement a few verses previous to the above quote. It is about a Christian having committed a gross sexual sin in the congregation, and what happened after he was disciplined. Paul said the punishment inflicted on him was sufficient, and now the man should be be forgiven and comforted:

"...so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow... in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes." 2 Corinthians 2:6-11 N.I.V.

Here is Christian sin properly dealt with, so that the sinner moves from sorrow and regret to repentance and restoration. But if repentance does not happen, then Satan's schemes will have worked, and the sinner will not be comforted and forgiven. Satan entered into Judas and because he now controlled Judas, his guilty conscience could find no relief because he could not repent. He stuck at remorse. And Satan's scheme was completed when Judas took his own life.

No wonder Jesus prophesied before the betrayal, "It were better for that man had he never been born", given that Satan would bring him down into the pit - Mark 14:21. Once Satan entered into Judas, that satanic control led to his death, and for eternity Satan will be the eternal horror of Judas.

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  • What do you think about Luther's teachings that guilt conscience is satan's work, and a Christian must never regret for any of his sins? Which spirit was possessing Luther in such doctrines? christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/96326/…
    – Michael16
    Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 14:19
  • @Michael16 Before I read your comment to me, I had posted an answer to your question about Martin Luther, but I don't expect you to up-vote it (smiles!)
    – Anne
    Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 17:16
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The scripture often describe an event without telling how it begun and how it ended. Though many will stretch to read the context in order to make a guess, but sometimes it is still not easy.

The question refers to Matthew 27:3;

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. (Matthew 27:3 NIV)

Since there is no parallel verse in other gospels, and the narrative is short, it is unclear whether his remorse could earn the Lord's forgiveness, though his remorse appeared from his true heart, when he said;

4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” (Matthew 27:4 NIV)

I believe it did earn a lot of sympathy from some readers who find themselves struggling in similar situation. Perhaps Christians need to avoid the idea that whenever an evil is done, it is the work of Satan and contrary, the work of Holy Spirit. If we believed God had gave us free-will then we have free-will for God is truth and don't lie.

There is an appearant answer in John;

70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!

71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.) (John 6:70-71 NIV)

So if Jesus foresaw Judas was a devil, then I believe Judas was a devil and did not receive the gift of forgiveness.

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  • The Greek word διάβολος is translated "false accuser" twice (2Timothy 3:3 and Titus 2:3) , "slanderer" once (1Timothy 3:11), and "devil" 35 times. In all three non-devil verses, it does not have a definite article. And I might have missed it, but as far as I can see, John 6:70 is the only instance of "devil" without a definite article ("a devil" rather than "the devil"). ¶ Is it possible that John 6:70 is simply a mistranslation (one that occurs in almost all versions)? Rather than "Yet one of you is a devil!", wouldn't it be more appropriate as "Yet one of you is a slanderer!"? Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 1:18
  • I just now noticed that John 6:70 | The New World Translation, the translation used by Jehovah's Witnesses, in fact does use the word "slanderer", and explains the use in an aside. Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 1:26
  • @RayButterworth - I know no Greek nor Hebrew so your comment worth a thought. Consider Judas betrayed Jesus and described him a slanderer didn't match the seriousness of his role. He might be fitted as a false accuser as Satan means accuser and would it be this reason some version simply translate it as 'devil"? Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 1:46
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    @RayButterworth - it seems highly unlikely that the KJV, the NIV, the NLT and the ESV all mistranslated John 6:70 and came up with "one of you is a devil". Yes, the NWT comes up with "slanderer" but I could not find an aside from the link you provided where they explain why they chose to introduce the word "slanderer". What does the Greek say in John 6:70?
    – Lesley
    Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 11:56
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    Found the relevant note, thank you. Judas did the devil's work, showing his father to be the devil, and that he was a child of the devil. That goes way beyond saying slanderous things! In Young's concordance, the Greek for saying slanderous things - diabolos - only occurs once in 1 Tim.3:11 where wives must not be slanderers. In John 6:70 diabolos means 'accuser, caluminator' and Young lists that verse under that application. What Judas did goes way beyond slander.
    – Lesley
    Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 16:15
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“watch, and pray, that ye may not enter into temptation: the spirit indeed is forward, but the flesh weak.'.” (Matt. 26:41, YLT)

This word “enter” is the same word, Strong’s Gr. 1525 that is used at Luke 22:3. According to the definition at Thayer’s 2a. “entering into” is metaphorically used of a change in a condition or state of things. Thayer’s definition #1 denotes a physical change of place, but then qualifies that at 1a. as an Hebraic phrase that “usually denotes whole mode of living and acting” as in Deu. 28:6, and 1 Sam. 29:6. (Source: Biblehub)

Most people read Luke 22:3 with pagan beliefs and ideas of demon possession, which is not real. This takes a hard study to come to an understanding of how the Zorastrian two-god belief system has overlaid God’s word. We are told in Deu. 32:17 that,

“They sacrifice to demons -- no god! Gods they have not known -- New ones -- from the vicinity they came;” (YLT).

The definition of “demons” is a pagan idol, a no-god. It is used again for pagan idols in Deu. 32:20, and Psa. 106.37. Pagan idols were “demons” and “devils” in the Hebrew Old Testament (Lev. 17:7; 2 Chron. 11:14-15). Paul confirmed this in 1 Cor. 8:

”As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.” (1 Cor. 8:4, KJV)

And, again in 1 Cor. 10:

”18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.” (1 Cor. 10:18-20, KJV)

Therefore, the words “demons,” “devils,” and pagan idols are the same thing – a no-god. This language has always been used in God’s word for false pagan idols, and false beliefs in other “gods” than the one true God, YHWH.

And, as God tells us that evil comes from within the heart of man (Gen. 6:5; 8:21; 50:20; Deu. 15:9; 25:54; Prov. 12:20; Matt. 9:4; 15:19; Mark 7:20-23, etc) then where does “ha satan” reside? What exactly is meant by “ha satan?” Isn’t it really the heart of man? Isn’t it our own evil thoughts and desires? Who was it that was always doing evil in the sight of God but wicked men. Satan is a personification of our own evil deeds.

”They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is.” (Psa. 38:20, KJV)

The word “Satan” was not a name.(1) It was not capitalized in the original texts. That concept of an evil being named “Satan” came during the intertestmental period and is a result of pagan ideology. The word is an adjective or a verb and means an adversary, or one who stands against another, mainly any who stand against God or God’s people. Anyone who opposes God is an adversary, a satan. The specific person in the context of the specific scripture is “the” adversary, “ha satan”. The serpent in the garden was not Satan. (2)

Paul makes it very clear that the blame for the fall in the garden was Adam and Eve (Rom. 5:18; 1 Cor. 15:21-22). It was the condition of their hearts that succumbed to the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life.

So, what entered into Judas was a change of his heart, a change that overcame him as a result that he fell into temptation of the lusts of his heart, greed and pride. To say that a foreign spiritual entity caused Judas to betray Christ is to say that Judas was not responsible for his actions; and that would mean that God would have punished Judas unjustly. There was no demonic or satanic possession going on. And, therefore, Judas felt remorse for his actions because he realized how greatly he had wronged Christ.

This takes a great deal of study and consideration to rethink what we have always been taught about this “satan.” Please read the following posts for more scriptural support of how we need to change our thinking about demons and the devil.

Testing The Spirits – Part IV(a) – Demons, Devils, & Idols - ShreddingTheVeil

Testing The Spirits – Part IV(b) – Demons… ShreddingTheVeil

Testing The Spirits – Part IV© - Demons,…. ShreddingTheVeil

Notes:

  1. Strong’s Heb. 7853, Biblehub

  2. Satan was not in the garden - here

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Before we delve into the question of Judas’s remorse and his supposed possession by Satan, we must recognize that we are dealing with narratives written by different authors, for different audiences, and with different theological purposes. The Gospels are not eyewitness accounts, and they often differ in their portrayals of key events and figures.

The story of Judas’s betrayal and his subsequent remorse is fraught with theological and psychological complexity. The idea of Satan 'entering' him is likely a narrative device used to explain his betrayal. It’s worth noting that 'Satan' in the Hebrew Bible often functions as an adversary or accuser, not necessarily the personification of evil found in later Christian theology.

As for Judas’s remorse, it suggests a depth of character often overlooked in traditional Christian interpretations that paint Judas as a simple villain. It’s entirely plausible for someone, even under the sway of a malevolent influence, to feel remorse for their actions. Human psychology is complex and multi-faceted, and remorse often comes from the recognition that one’s actions have caused harm or suffering to others.

The question of when Satan supposedly left Judas, if we accept the premise of possession, is not explicitly answered in the biblical texts. Some interpretations suggest that it occurred when Judas died, but this is largely conjectural.

Overall, from my perspective, these questions point to the intricacies and contradictions inherent in religious texts. Rather than taking them as literal truth, we would do better to view them as human-created works reflecting the struggles, questions, and beliefs of their times

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    This is entirely opinion based and is not hermeneutic.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 13:08
  • the question of Judas's remorse and his 'possession' by Satan is not simply a matter of parsing biblical texts, but also of understanding the human experiences and motivations that these texts attempt to express. In this sense, one could argue that my approach is a form of hermeneutics, albeit a secular one. Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 13:13
  • I do not approach the Bible, or indeed any religious text, with the assumption of divine inspiration or inerrancy. Instead, I approach it as I would any other text: as a human creation, reflecting the historical, cultural, and psychological contexts in which it was written. Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 13:14
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    @Serg Z. Welcome to BH and thanks for your contribution. You say "human-created works", but what is your authority for this statement? Bible Hermeneutics means having Bible words to back Bible statements.
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 13:56
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    Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation. It does not presuppose any particular theological position. One can engage in hermeneutics from a faith-based perspective, but one can also approach it from a secular, critical perspective. My approach falls into the latter category. Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 13:59