Judas and Jesus

As I have been preaching through 2 Samuel, I have pointed to what I regarded as a reverse type of Christ, which was the death of Absalom. You have two sons of David, one faithless and the other faithful (thus “reverse”), but who both died hanging on a tree, both pierced by a soldier, and who by their deaths provided deliverance for Israel. This brought me into a discussion with a parishioner who didn’t quite see it that way. He allowed that Absalom could have been a type of Judas, but not Jesus.

I mention this, not to continue that discussion, although it is a worthy subject, but rather because that stray comment made me think of something that had never occurred to me before, which is the stark parallel/contrast between Judas and Jesus.
Begin with the fact that Judas is simply the Greek spelling of the Hebrew name Judah, and we can note Jesus was descended from the tribe of Judas. He was born in Bethlehem, which was in the land of Judas (Matt. 2:6). Jesus was “of Judas” in some sense.

But the most striking thing is that both Jesus and Judas were hanging from trees where each of them died, and it was at around the same time. Jesus was pierced and blood and water came out (John 19:34). Judas was disemboweled, either through the violence of his hanging or because his body was not discovered right away, bloated, and then burst open (Acts 1:18). But the way the story is told makes it seem like Judas hanged himself before the Lord was crucified — which makes it likely that the two men, under completely different kinds of curses, were hanging on Jerusalem trees at the same time. Depending on where Akeldama and the original Golgotha were, one location may even have been visible to the other.

Jesus was valued at 30 pieces of silver, the sum Judas took for the betrayal (Zech. 11:12; Matt. 26:15). But right before Judas died, there was another “transaction” involving that same thirty pieces of silver. He threw the money down in the Temple, and even though they did not formally “take” it, they did use it to buy Akeldama, the field of blood. Judas took the money and Jesus was condemned. The chief priests and elders “took” the money, and Judas was condemned.

Satan had entered into Judas so that when Judas died you have a similar circumstance as when Legion entered into all the pigs right before the pigs died. At the cross of Jesus, Satan was doing the taunting and crucifying. When Judas was hanged, the parasite Satan destroyed the host, Judas.

In Judas, you had sin devouring. In Jesus, you had sin devoured. In Judas, you had death followed by death. In Jesus, you had death followed by resurrection. In the Law, there were two scapegoats. One was sacrificed before the Lord, and the other was driven in the wilderness (Lev. 16:6-10).

I don’t want to be dogmatic about this, but it is suggestive.

Theology That Bites Back



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  • http://www.damiensfingerpost.blogspot.com damien

    you just keep thinkin’ butch.  that’s what you’re good at.

  • Rob Balfour

    It seems to me that nearly every covenant in the OT is immediately followed but it’s own failure from the human side (Adam and the Tree; Abraham and Ishmael; Moses and the Golden Calf). Absalom is the failure, or mock fulfillment, of the Davidic promise which proves that it will be fulfilled only by grace, and points towards the True fulfillment.

  • Doane

    This may just be what happens when Leithart is not in town. Something has to fill the typological void.  

  • http://www.bullartistry.com.au/wp Mike Bull

    Great stuff! But it looks like this isn’t a new idea:
    Also, Jesus’ and Judas’ bodies were both divided and emptied, but filth came out of Judas (like Eglon) and living water came out of Jesus.
    The Last Supper follows the pattern of Israel’s feasts. Judas is sent out at “Atonement,” which makes Jesus the ascension goat.
    Acts 1 also follows the pattern, but at Atonement, it is Matthias who is “chosen” by lot at Atonement to replace Judas.  http://bit.ly/OoG6xF
    But the entire first century history also follows the pattern of the feasts, with Jesus’ death at Passover. 
    In this case, Atonement is the great reckoning predicted by Jesus, not the tearing of the Veil but the destruction of the entire Temple; not the splitting of the rocks but the dividing of all the Land; not the flogging by Roman soldiers and the testimony of a single centurion but the testimony of Titus and his armies. 
    This time it is not Judas but all of Judah which is sent to outer darkness, at least those which followed his example and did not listen to Jesus. It was the Last Supper played out on an imperial scale. Structure is everything.
    What is worse, many Jews tried to escape Jerusalem during the siege. They swallowed their gold to smuggle it out. Once they became aware of this practice, Roman and Syrian soldiers began cutting Jews open, dead or alive, looking for gold. Their insides spilled out, just like Judas.
    In Jesus and Judas, we behold both the goodness and severity of God.

  • Doane

    That said, the scapegoat observation is epic. 

  • Doane

    Mr. Bull,
    Judas and the coins/Jews escaping and the coins. Another epic connection. Man, I wish these posts got 100 comments. Doug, could you add some homo comments and libertarian thermal dynamics age of the earth stuff into these? 

  • Tim Mullet


  • http://www.bullartistry.com.au/wp Mike Bull

    The Bible is too hard for this generation because we haven’t been trained to think in pictures. But Doug and Peter and Jim are changing that and I’m very grateful for them. Theology needs less lawyer-minds and more artists and musicians.

  • http://www.bullartistry.com.au/wp Mike Bull

    And filmmakers.

  • J

    Doane I was thinking the EXACT same thing about comments. I would like to contribute to these kind of posts more but I often just find myself sitting in awe of the word of God praying for more and more. My favorite picture so far is the tabernacle and all of its furnishings thanks to a sermon series done by my church this past summer. It makes me feel like I’m getting just a taste of what the disciples felt on the road to emmaus.

  • John W

    It is a mistake to think that we only have types in the Old Testament and fulfilment in the New. Typology is  deep within the text of the NT also.
     Do a study of the life of the Church in the Book of Acts, especially the  ministry of Paul, and you will find it to be replete with imagery of Christ. This is the Jewish way of understanding Scripture and only an undue fixation with historical-grammatical exegesis prevents us from seeing it.

  • Doane

    John W,
    maybe we should be doing historical-grammatical-narrative exegesis. 

  • J

    John I would buy that. I suppose it’s just easier for me to see Old Testament typology because it’s laid out so plainly in the New Testament. When seeing the typology in the new it seems more on me to make the comparisons. I have no problem with faithful teachers making the jumps, such as the one Doug is putting forward here it’s when it’s me making the jumps that makes me nervous. But I’ll give acts a look for sure.

  • Matthew N. Petersen

    If you hadn’t noticed that there’s a stark contrast between Jesus and Judas already, you probably shouldn’t be a pastor. :P

    (Just in case people can’t tell, that’s a joke.)

  • Neo

    An athie friend of mine always made a stink about the differences in the death accounts of Judas (hanging vs. guts exploding out, etc).  Do you have a good resource to explain the differences to him?

  • J Watson

    Neo, geologists have studied the area of Judas’ suicide, and have observed, that the tree where he was hung could have been at the top of a ravine, because of the nature of the landscape.  Thus why his bowels spilled out (Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:16-19).

  • J Watson

       For, clarification.  If the rope broke, the knot slipped, or the branch broke, causing Judas to fall, the plummet would have been longer and more ruinous, than a usual fall from a tree.

  • Eric Stampher

    Mr Bull, pulling allegories out of post biblical history should also allow you to include something from the Sichuan games.

  • Eric Stampher

    Sorry – Sochi games