Judas Was Not Predestined or Foreknown to Betray Christ

‘In what follows is a exegesis of important aspects of basic Greek grammar and syntax to show that this passage does not teach that Judas was predestined to betray the Son of God.

“As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? b He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. (Joh 6:57-71)

Analysis of the Greek:

v 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
v 61: εἰδὼς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐν ἑαυτῷ ὅτι γογγύζουσιν περὶ τούτου οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ

1.) εἰδῷ to know, i. e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive; a. any fact: with the addition of ἐν ἑαυτῷ followed by ὅτι John 6:61.

εἰδὼς … ἐν ἑαυτῷ … ὅτι
having come to know , within Himself ->”that”

Here the used of “εἰδῷ” is emphatic. Christ became aware of what was happening in the hearts of the mumbling disciples. “Knowing” in the Greek here is in the perfect tense of completed action .

In other words, Jesus became immediately conscious of the shift in loyalty that happened in disciples at large and in Judas in particular. His words had polarized those who “believed in him”. In the disciples at large a general defection. But in Judas, it betrayal.

That is shown in this verse:

“But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. (verse 64)

ἀλλ᾽ εἰσὶν ἐξ ὑμῶν τινες οἳ οὐ πιστεύουσιν. ᾔδει γὰρ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ὁ Ἰησοῦς τίνες εἰσὶν οἱ μὴ πιστεύοντες καὶ τίς ἐστιν ὁ παραδώσων αὐτόν.

‘believe not’ (πιστεύουσιν – present tense) : lit., there are some of you who are not believing. Note: this is in response to what just happened. For His part He is telling them, I know that you stopped believing and you are scandalized over my words. IF you could see me ascend where I was before you would not be scandalized.

Then comes the next revelation. The English translation comes across such that the betrayal was known before hand and already a foregone conclusion. But that is incorrect. It merely says that as a result of knowing their hearts Jesus was also cognizant of the added purpose in Judas to betray him .

ἐστιν ὁ παραδώσων αὐτόν – knew from the beginning when betrayal formed in Judas’ heart.

[Note by crosstheology: This is W Scott Taylor’s interpretation of the Greek rendering, which is in my opinion the most probable.]

Jesus goes on to challenge them all with “Did I not tell you, that no man can ‘come unto me’, except it were given… It is as much to say: You hearts are not right before the Father, otherwise you would hear my voice and KNOW that I am He. That last appeal went rejected by many. Too awful to contemplate that they were touched by the power of His word and knew it had authority to claim their absolute allegiance, and they turned away.

v 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

A. T. Robertson’s exegetical remarks on verse 64 are as follows:

“that believe not (hoi ou pisteuousin). Failure to believe kills the life in the words of Jesus. ‘Knew from the beginning’ (eidei ex arches). In the N.T. we have ‘ex arches’ only here and 16:4, but … John does not say here that Jesus knew that Judas would betray him when he chose him as one of the twelve, least of all that he chose him for that purpose. What he does say is that Jesus was not taken by surprise and soon saw signs of treason in Judas. The same verb is used of John’ arrest in Matt. 4:12. Once Judas is termed traitor (prodotes) in Luke 6:16. Judas had gifts and was given his opportunity. He did not have to betray Jesus.”

v 70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

[NAS – … and yet one of you is a devil?”] That is, NOW, on of you is a devil.

Again, A. T. Robertson’s exegesis on verse 70:

“And one of you is a devil.” Jesus does not say that Judas was a devil when he chose him, but that he is one now. In 13:2 and 27 John speaks of the devil entering Judas. How soon the plan to betray Jesus first entered the heart of Judas we do not know (12:4). One wonders if the words of Jesus did not cut Judas to the quick.”

This exegesis by the renowned Baptist Scholar is remarkably different from the theological ethos he is reckoned with. His scholarship trumps his theology here and as such places the text before the reader anew. The important nuances of Greek syntax is demonstrated here and seriously undermines the traditional view of Judas’ being either foreordained or foreknown to betray Jesus.’

source: W Scott Taylor (ideoamnostoutheou).

Read also “Judas was Chosen” (by Gordon Olson)

Read also “Biblical Prophecy: Two Kinds: Intentional vs Coincidental” (by W Scott Taylor)

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