The Death of Judas.

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The Death of Judas

 

By Abdullah Smith

 

 

 

 

There are two passages in the NT about Judas’ death, the Gospel of Matthew and Acts of the Apostles. Both scriptures are unreliable for many reasons, the Gospel of Matthew was written decades after Jesus’ departure. There is no reference to Matthew’s gospel by name until 200 CE. The Church father Irenaeus was the first to mention the Gospels by name, and to confirm the existence of Acts.   The ‘Acts’ was composed in the 2nd century, yet Christian apologist Justin Martyr (d. 150 CE) fails to mention the Acts. We have good reason to doubt the Gospel of Matthew and Acts, they are late productions based on earlier sources, belonging to the Pauline Church. In fact, the entire New Testament was written under the influence of Paul. The Jewish Christian canon was destroyed; the Hebrew gospels were consigned to the flames. Matthew borrowed from Mark; Luke borrowed from both Mark and Matthew. The Acts borrowed from the writings of Josephus, and plagiarized stories from the Old Testament (Acts 11:8, Ezekiel 4:14).

 

IF Luke is the author of Acts, he confessed to plagiarizing the material before him (Luke 1:3), pretending to be an historian. The Acts was selected from a table of forgeries, the Acts of Peter, Acts of Paul, and apocryphal documents. How do we know the four Gospels are not also forgeries? It must be noted that many books were accepted by the early Church, e.g. The Shepherd of Hermas, Epistle of Barnabas, Gospel of Peter, etc. The four Gospels may well be forged, because the Church selected them off a table of other forgeries.  The early Church destroyed the ‘Gospel of Hebrews’ which was the source of Matthew’s gospel.

 

Very few Christians can explain the glaring contradiction between Matthew and Acts, the death of Judas and its contextual background. History is completely silent on this matter; the Apostolic Church fathers (Ignatius, Clement, Papias, Polycarp) do not mention Judas’ death, so the New Testament is the only source of evidence. Needless to say, the Gospels of Mark, Luke and John omit the death of Judas. The Gospel of Matthew (90 CE) says that Judas returned the 30 pieces of silver and hanged himself. Here is the specific passage we are alluding to:

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money." (Matthew 27:5-6)

The passage is clear, the betrayer Judas felt guilty for betraying the ‘Master’, he eventually committed suicide by hanging. According to logic and reason, hanging causes immediate death by strangulation. Christians argue that Judas did not die from hanging, he survived the hanging and fell down to the rocks below, and his bowels “burst open” on the field (Acts 1:18). The explanation to this contradiction fails for legitimate reasons. The solution is not supported by Scripture, both Matthew and Acts are separate productions of different areas. The early Church believed Matthew was the first gospel, but today scholars agree that Mark is the first gospel. The Acts was composed much later, Christians are desperate to solve the contradiction by harmonization, yet the Gospel of Matthew is Jewish and the Acts is primarily Gentile, both scriptures couldn’t have been authored by the same person, the authors did not know each other. Similarly, the four Gospel writers composed the biographies of Jesus separately, they borrowed from each other, but they did not know each other. It seems Mark and Matthew is primarily Jewish; Luke and John are intended for Gentile audiences. The Book of Acts was allegedly written by Luke (the disciple of Paul), and he never met Jesus or Matthew. How do we know Matthew is reliable? It’s the only gospel to record the death of Judas; Acts is unreliable because it contradicts Luke on Jesus’ ascension (Luke 24:51, Acts 1:9).

 

(With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) Acts 1:18

 

The Gospel of Matthew records that Judas hanged himself, and he obviously died as the result of choking. There is no verse that says “Judas fell to the ground below and his bowels gushed out”. To the contrary, the ‘Acts’ does not say Judas hanged himself, he “fell headlong and his bowels gushed open”, a glaring contradiction.

 

Here is the Christian explanation:

 

There is no contradiction here at all because both are true.  A contradiction occurs when one statement excludes the possibility of another.  In fact, what happened here is that Judas went and hung himself and then his body later fell down and split open.  In other words, the rope or branch of the tree probably broke due to the weight and his body fell down and his bowels spilled out. http://www.carm.org/diff/Matt27_3.htm

 

Here is why the explanation fails to work. The “field of blood” or “Potter’s field” does not exist in Matthew; Acts does not mention any “rocks”, but merely a field Judas purchased. Why would Judas hang himself on a cliff?  Also, Judas’s body never fell downward but “headlong”, which means forward. Judas was alive before his “bowels gushed open”, he must’ve been murdered.

 

Several problems arise from the Christian explanation.

 

  1. Judas never dropped from a high place, the passage does not record any mountain cliff.

 

  1. Matthew says Judas returned the silver, and hanged himself. Acts says he bought a field and “fell headlong”, showing that he never fell down from a cliff. The Acts gives the implication that Judas was thrown ahead, and the impact was so hard that his bowels burst open. There is no evidence that Judas fell vertically, only horizontally (forward), so the Christian explanation does not work.

 

  1. Here is another problem, the 30 pieces of silver, Acts says he used the silver to buy a field (where he died), but Matthew says he returned the silver to the chief priests, and hanged himself. There is no purchase of any field, so he obviously never died, except by hanging (Matt. 27:5-6).

  2. There is no reference to a cliff, Judas probably hanged himself in seclusion, and his body was found by his relatives. What are the chances that Judas’ body fell from the ropes to the field below? According to Matthew, Judas never bought any field! The Gospel of Matthew says the chief priests bought the Potter’s field after Judas was dead (Matt. 27:7-8), yet the Book of Acts says that Judas himself bought the field and died therein (Acts 1:8-9).

 

  1. If Judas fell from the ropes to the rocks below, he never fell headlong! How can you fall headlong from hanging? This is ridiculous, the legs crashed to the ground first, Judas never fell headlong.

 

The Church father Papias contradicts both Matthew and Acts by claiming Judas was crushed by horses!

 

Judas walked about in this world a sad example of impiety; for his body having swollen to such an extent that he could not pass where a chariot could pass easily, he was crushed by the chariot, so that his bowels gushed out. (Fragments of Papias,  (online Source)

 

This passage is derived from Papias’s writing “Exegesis of the Sayings of the Lord”, only fragments remain. The Papias testimony cannot be harmonized with Matthew, yet Christians argue that horses crushed Judas’ body when he was already dead (Acts 1:18). Yet the passage clearly teaches that Judas was alive when the horses crushed him. Why was Judas’s body swollen? It’s possible that Judas committed suicide by letting the horses crush him, causing his bowels to burst open. This contradicts both Matthew and Acts, the former says Judas hanged himself; the latter says he fell “headlong” into a field. Yet the bishop Papias says Judas was crushed by horses!

 

The discrepancy can never be resolved. Muslims don’t need to worry, the Holy Quran states that God saved Jesus from the cross (Al-Quran 4:157, Psalms 20:6). IF Jesus was crucified, he couldn’t have been the Messiah, the Anointed is always victorious (Psalms 18:50, 132: 10-11), and God protects him (Luke 22:43, Hebrews 5:7).

 

 

 

 

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Articles by Abdullah Smith.


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