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" The Judas Conundrum "
    "And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every sickness and every disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these... [including] Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them... as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give... And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!" (~Mt10:1-15)

    "Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, being numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and commanders, how he might deliver [Jesus] to them." (Lk22:3-4)

    Of the one who betrayed Jesus, "Jesus answered, It is he to whom I shall give a morsel when I have dipped it. And having dipped the morsel, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the morsel, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, What you do, do quickly." (Jn13:21,26-27)

    "The Son of Man truly goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born." (Mk14:21)

    "And I said, Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest... For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it. It is not one who hates me who magnified himself against me, or I would hide myself from him; but it is you, a man my equal, my friend and acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng." (Ps55:6,12-14)

    "And...he went up to Jesus and said, Greetings, Rabbi; and kissed Him." (Mt26:49)

Taking from the title, what is a conundrum?
    "A riddle. A paradoxical, insoluble, or difficult problem: a dilemma"
As we peruse the opening Scripture passages, what is this we see? Jesus, of all people, being very God Himself, and for all that is in the OT about keeping the profane out and keeping God's service "holy", deliberately chooses as one of the disciples, a person He foreknows is an unbeliever. As the baptists like to say, who proclaim church "membership" from this terminology, Judas was "numbered" with the disciples. As if... Jesus the "pastor", as He is lining up the new members, the board of elders, brings Judas amongst them all, lines him up, as a "church member". (please understand the use of allegory here) Judas is "one of the gang"!

But Judas was one of those to whom Paul refers,

    "For not all those of Israel are Israel" (Rom9:6b)
Judas was one like Paul warned against appointing to ministry,
    "Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure... not a new convert, that he not be puffed up with pride and fall into the same condemnation as the devil." (1Ti5:22, 3:6)
Jesus went against all that the Bible teaches about those serving in ministry. We haven't quoted from the OT here about the purity that was to characterize the priesthood. But He even empowers Judas with the ability to heal and cast out demons. Judas was authorized, BY JESUS, to go around and do things "in Jesus' name"

You see... some of what goes on today -IS- true healing. The people -ARE- healed. Some TRULY DO cast out demons in exorcisms. God even said that would be the case with false prophets...

    "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, Let us go after other gods, which you have not known, and let us serve them; you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for Jehovah your God is testing you to know whether you love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul." (De13:1-3)
You see... the prophet prophesies, and the prophecy COMES TO PASS. And he proclaims false doctrine: Let's worship these other gods. Let's comport ourselves -contrary- to God's Word. After all, haven't I just performed a miracle before you? I made a prediction, and it came to pass. See? I'm the real thing! Since I performed this "sign", it -validates- my 'authority' as a LATTER DAY APOSTLE, to proclaim a NEW GOSPEL, NEW DOCTRINE, a NEW WAY of doing things "for our modern era". But Paul was quite clear about that...
    "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you into the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you, even determined to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." (Ga1:6-9)
And he further says...
    "Now I exhort you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and snares, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and turn away from them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple." (Rom16:17-18)
So... -WHY- would Jesus deliberately choose a false-disciple to follow Him around, and to also preach, heal and cast out demons?

Aah! Therein is the 'conundrum'.

What are some of God's ways?

    "with the pure You show Yourself pure; and with the perverse You show Yourself twisted." (2Sa22:27)
The "lying spirit" presented the case how to get Ahab to go into battle and be killed, and God used it. All the false prophets said, Go and prosper...!
    "Go up (to Ramoth Gilead), for God will deliver it into the king’s hand." (2Ch18:5)
It was -lone- Micaiah who spoke truth. One, against the prevailing messages of victory, success, prosperity and positiveness.

Just because somebody stands behind a pulpit, does not mean they know the Lord. He may wax eloquent with words, and quote Scripture with a strong voice. He may pull the emotional heart-strings and get many people to walk-the-aisle at invitation time. Some of the most notorious false prophets also spend much time raising money. They will ask the poor to wrack up more debt on their already-buried credit card to "plant a seed" on their behalf. Judas, also, was a money grubber. He was the group's treasurer, and it says, "he was a thief, and had the moneybag; and used to take what was put in it" (Jn12:6)

But Jesus knew him...

    "But there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who were not believing, and who would betray Him." (Jn6:64)
And so, with that statement, the conundrum does not include the question: Was Judas saved at first, but then he "drew back"? (Lk8:13, Heb10:39) No. He was one who NEVER WAS saved.
    "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that not all of them are of us." (1Jn2:19)
So, the big question remains. WHY did Jesus pick Judas? That is the conundrum, which we do not claim to resolve right now. Jesus was headed to the cross to die for mankind's sin. That was a very special time in history, the likes of which never was before, nor will be ever again. Jesus died "once for all" (Heb7:27, 9:12, 1Pt3:18) But we can receive learning from the account.

As Jesus was sending the twelve (including Judas) out to minister He says,

    "But beware of men" (Mt10:17)
The ones whom Judas touched, were they truly healed? Were they truly free of demons? Wherein was Judas' authority? His own? -Jesus- had commissioned them all. -Jesus- had GIVEN THEM AUTHORITY. It was not Judas' piety that healed and cast out demons. It was God's power given through Jesus' authority and command. Thus, when Judas would say, "in Jesus' name", it came to pass.

Even though they both are of satan and proclaim doctrines of demons, we have occasioned that Salvation -can- be found in the catholic and mormon churches. How? Because the catholics and mormons proclaim Sound Doctrine, and thump their Bibles as they proclaim Jesus Christ and Him crucified? (1Co2:2) In truth, they don't do that. But they -do- have God's Word, the Bible. And we know that Salvation is "through the Word of God" (Ro10:17) And we also know that, wherever God's Word goes out

    "it shall not return..void, but it shall accomplish what [God pleases], and it shall succeed in that for which [God sends] it" (Is55:11)
To whatever extent God's Word is read in even the most pagan of places, if the hearer -receives- it into their heart in faith, they -can- be saved. It matters not if the reader was a priest, voodoo witch doctor, false preacher behind the pulpit.... or Judas. God's Word, through the Holy Spirit, has the full power and backing of God Almighty.

And so yes... even though Judas was a thieving unbeliever who eventually betrayed Jesus, when JESUS gave him the authority, his preaching and healings were effective.

Does this mean that -all- false prophets behind the pulpits today have God's authority? Jeremiah 23 pretty much negates that notion...

    "Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! says Jehovah." (Jer23:1)
But if a person is saved, TRULY SAVED, in such a person's church, it was not the preacher who saved them. If a person goes to a Franklin Graham crusade, or some big meeting by any other person, such as Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, or any one of the other popular unsaved Judases today, and they are TRULY SAVED, it was not Judas who saved them. It will be in proportion to whatever degree Judas LET SLIP some small portion of God's Holy Word, in spite of the 'rest' of what they were proclaiming, and it reached into the person's soul and heart, and they received it, God's Word, that God can work IN SPITE OF whichever 'Judas' is at the pulpit. If it is God's Word, it is God's Power and God's AUTHORITY unto the Salvation of anyone who -calls- upon God...
    "For everyone, whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Rom10:13, Joe2:32)
But notice that the rest of the disciples didn't suspect anything. Even when he left to betray Jesus they thought he was going to "give something to the poor", or some other such errand. (Jn13:29) Sometimes the false prophets -appear- to be the real thing. And as Jesus taught, the wheat and tares will be growing together, but will be sorted out at the "harvest". (Mt13:25-30) But that does not mean we are not to be on the alert. Jesus said to "beware of men". And to "know them from their fruits" (Mt7:15) It will be the Judases who will be moaning to Jesus at the Judgment...
    "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name (Judas did), cast out demons in Your name (Judas did), and done many works of power in Your name (Judas did)? And then I will declare to them, I NEVER KNEW YOU; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO WORK OUT LAWLESSNESS!" (Mt7:22-23)
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